Sitting at an abysmal 6-7 after a home loss to the Orlando Magic, the New York Knicks currently lay claim to the eighth and final spot worthy of a postseason appearance in the Eastern Conference standings.
Who would’ve thought the abomination of a franchise that LeBron James left in his wake—the Cleveland Cavaliers—would make such an emphatic turnaround that they’d be peering down at the Knicks right now?
As easy as it is to pin the blame on injuries to key players (i.e., Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert), the reality is the best teams only go as far as their benches take them.
A franchise may have the most talented starting five in the league (think Miami Heat), but there are too many variables that can cause things to spin out of control fast if you don’t have a backup plan riding the pine behind the head coach.
Disputants of the ‘Melo deal are shaking their heads and saying “I told you so;” the hypothesis that New York was giving away too much in the trade and would suffer for it absolutely has legs to stand on.
Having lost gifted reserves such as Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov, who both went on to start in Denver, the Knicks, arguably, received the short end of the stick.
While the bench situation will improve with the arrival of Baron Davis, forcing either Landry Fields or Shumpert to play in the second unit, the Knicks will have to make do with what they’ve got in the meantime.
Let’s take a look at the subs who really need to step up and give a consistent effort down the stretch for the Knicks to be respectable.