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Expectations for Each of the New York Knicks' Key Players

Sunil RamCorrespondent IIJanuary 6, 2012

Expectations for Each of the New York Knicks' Key Players

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    Note: This article was written before the commencement of the Knicks-Wizards game played on January 6th and does not take that game into account.

    The shortened 2011-12 NBA season hasn’t started out the way many New York Knick fans hoped—especially those with Time Warner Cable.

    After a thrilling victory over the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day, the Knicks have gone 1-5. Since the calendar shifted from 2011 to 2012, the Big Apple’s basketball squad has gone 0-2 by losing at home to the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats.

    The Knicks season is just one-11th of the way completed, but with how they’ve played so far, it might be fair to think that expectations for each of the team’s key players have shifted a bit in comparison to before the season began.

    Here’s my take on what those expectations currently are. 

Carmelo Anthony

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    On the offensive end, Carmelo has played very well—evidenced, in part, by his points per game average of 27.8, which is second in the league to only LeBron James (29.9). 

    His field goal percentage of 45.6 percent is solid, but his 36.4 percent shooting from three could be better. Still, it’s reasonable to think the three-point percentage should improve.

    On the defensive end, Carmelo has not played very well. It’s no secret that he hasn’t been the most motivated player when it comes to defense, and this season—even with Tyson Chandler on board—doesn’t seem to be much different.

    Currently, Anthony finds himself with the league’s third-best Player Efficiency Rating (27.8), behind only Kevin Love (29.0) and LeBron James (37.5). While that statistic may be viewed as meaningless to some, it shows that Anthony certainly can handle being the offense’s focal point.

    As far as the rest of the season goes, Anthony looks poised to be at or near the top of the league’s leading scorers. If the Knicks can right the ship and finish the season among the Eastern Conference’s top four teams, he’ll likely receive some MVP consideration.

     

    Statistical expectations at end of regular season:

    27.2 points per game (45 percent shooting from the field, 39 percent shooting from three)/6.6 rebounds per game/4.1 assists per game

Amar'e Stoudemire

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    Like Carmelo, Amare’s problems have come mainly on the defensive side of the ball. Of course, he’s had to adjust to his offensive game while having a guy like Chandler clogging the paint and taking away some of his driving and slashing lanes.

    At this point in the season in 2010-11, Stoudemire was averaging close to 28 points per game and was a legitimate MVP candidate. So far, he’s putting up just 19.3 points per game on roughly 44 percent shooting from the field. As he gets more comfortable playing alongside Chandler, his numbers should improve.

    Knicks fans certainly hope his rebounding numbers (currently at 7.5 rebounds per game) will rise as well.

    It will be interesting to see how Stoudemire deals with rumors that he may be traded for Dwight Howard. Although it’s likely the rumor won’t ever reach past a point of speculation, it’d be understandable for STAT to be perturbed, since he was the first star who took his talents to Manhattan in an effort to restore the Knick franchise.

     

    Statistical expectations at end of regular season:

    22.4 points per game (49 percent shooting from the field)/7.9 rebounds per game/1.2 blocks per game

Tyson Chandler

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    So far, the Knicks’ prized free-agent acquisition has played well—evidenced, in part, by his blocks per game average of 2.2—when he stays out of foul trouble.

    Chandler is second on the team in win shares behind Carmelo Anthony, according to Basketball-Reference, at 0.9 (Carmelo has 1.0, while Amar’e has 0.3). Also, he leads the league in true shooting percentage.

    The one discouraging sign is Chandler’s rebounds per game average of 6.7. Of course, the Knicks defense has given up a bevy of easy shots to opponents, so if they can begin to better clamp down then, that number should improve. It also doesn’t help his rebounding chances that he has to contest so many shots because of his teammates getting burned by their man.


    Statistical expectations at end of regular season:

    10.7 points per game (68 percent shooting from the field)/9.2 rebounds per game/2.3 blocks per game

Toney Douglas

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    The young point guard has had an up-and-down season so far.

    At times, Douglas looks comfortable running the offense effectively. Other times, though, he looks overwhelmed trying to make plays for his teammates.

    Although Douglas is known more for his scoring rather than his passing and playmaking, his shooting percentages (35.9 percent from the field, 28.9 percent from three) have been abysmal. While the Florida State alum has a decent scoring average of 13.7, he’s averaging 15.3 field goal attempts per game, which is tied with Stoudemire for second on the team.

    With Baron Davis expected to be sidelined for at least another couple of weeks, the Knicks really need Douglas to improve his consistency if things are going to turn around. Cutting down his field goal attempts and increasing his assists per game average of 4.7 would certainly help.

     

    Statistical expectations at end of regular season:

    10.9 points per game (41 percent shooting from the field, 34 percent shooting from the three)/4.5 assists per game/1.6 steals per game

Iman Shumpert

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    Although he didn’t shoot particularly well (3-of-11), Shumpert had a solid Knicks debut on Christmas Day. Unfortunately for the rookie out of Georgia Tech, he suffered an injury in the game that looked to sideline him for two to four weeks.

    Shumpert made a quick recovery, playing in the Knicks' loss against the Bobcats. He showed that the Knicks’ first-round draft selection was used wisely by scoring 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting while hitting four of six three point attempts.

    Obviously, it’s tough to draw up expectations for the rookie after just two games, but Knicks fans should be optimistic about Shumpert’s improved jumper.

     

    Statistical expectations at end of regular season:

    12.2 points per game (43 percent shooting from the field, 38 percent shooting from three)/4.2 rebounds per game/2.2 assists per game 

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