Ranking the Biggest Culprits for the New York Knicks Collapse

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIMarch 12, 2012

Ranking the Biggest Culprits for the New York Knicks Collapse

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    The New York Knicks have only won one game since the All-Star break, finding themselves on a five-game losing streak as of late.

    Linsanity has worn off, Carmelo Anthony has returned to his inefficiency on the offensive side of the ball, and head coach Mike D'Antoni is proving that he might not have what it takes to win in the Big Apple.

    While almost every coach and player could be blamed for the Knicks' demise, there's no doubt that some are more responsible than others.

    Ultimately the Knicks, as a team and a franchise, are all collectively responsible for their recent collapse, and if they want to win, everyone in the franchise must step up their performance during the second half of the 2011-12 season.

    Ahead is a ranking of the members of the Knicks' franchise that are most responsible for the Knicks' demise as of late.  

No. 5: New York Knicks' Front Office and Their FA Acquisitions

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    I couldn't write about the Knicks' demise without mentioning the Knicks' front office.

    New York's front office is partially responsible for the Knicks' demise as of late because of all the free-agent signings and offseason moves they made, including singing J.R Smith and Baron Davis.

    While the responsibility is ultimately on the players to perform on the court, there's no doubt that the Knicks' front office was a little trigger happy this offseason and in the past month, when they added J.R Smith.

    The Knicks have too many players on their roster that are used to seeing a lot of minutes on the court, mainly Davis and Smith, and finding minutes for those players is one of the reasons why the Knicks haven't been able to find a successful rotation off the bench as of late.

    I know it's the head coach's responsibility to make the roster work, but the Knicks sure gave D'Antoni an interesting conglomeration of talent, and it's proven too much for him to handle in his fourth year with the Knicks.

No. 4: J.R Smith

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    While J.R Smith has been a decent addition to the Knicks so far this season since returning from China, there's no doubt that he's still the same player he once was.

    Smith still jacks up questionable shots, shoots below 40 percent from the field and below 30 percent from beyond-the-arc. and arguably takes more shots than he should. But hey, the Knicks knew that when they signed him right?

    New York has won only three of their seven games with J.R Smith in the fold, and that's not exactly the kind of win/loss record that the Knicks were hoping for when they signed the inconsistent shooting guard.

    The Knicks' lack of success as of late can't all be J.R Smith's fault though, as he hasn't really had enough time to gel with the team and become an above-average contributor to the Knicks offense.

    If the Knicks want to win, they need efficient production off the bench, and that's not what they're getting in J.R Smith.  Like I said, when the Knicks signed Smith, they knew he is an exciting player but also has the potential to hold a team back, which is exactly what he's doing in the Big Apple right now. 

No. 3: Jeremy Lin

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    I love Jeremy Lin, and hopping on the Linsanity bandwagon was a lot of fun, but we've all awoken to a terrible reality.  That reality is that Jeremy Lin is an average point guard that just can't figure out how to stop turning the ball over.

    In his last five games, all of which ended up as losses for the Knicks, Lin has averaged four turnovers per game while shooting only 39.5 percent from the field.  While that production isn't absolutely terrible, it's a major reason why the Knicks aren't as competitive as they once were.

    The main issue for Lin as of late has been the fact that he's playing more timid than he did when Carmelo Anthony wasn't on the team.

    What made Lin such a special player was the fearless way he approached the game and whoever was on the opposite team trying to stop him.  While Lin still shows flashes of that style of play, there's no doubt that he's lost a bit of confidence, and that's hurt him and the Knicks as of late.

    If the Knicks are going to win games with Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony on the same team, one thing is for sure, and that is that Jeremy Lin needs to protect the ball more and be smarter with his shot selection.

    Jeremy Lin was responsible for the Knicks resurgence, with fearless play and productive offensive performance, but unfortunately he's one of the major reasons for the Knicks losing streak as of late.

    The Knicks are going to "live by Lin, and die by Lin" this season, that's for sure.  

No. 2: Carmelo Anthony

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    Carmelo Anthony almost found himself at the number one spot on this list, but the fact that he's still been a productive member of the Knicks offense as of late saved him from that honor.

    During the Knicks' five-game losing streak, 'Melo hasn't played terribly, averaging 20.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in that stretch.  The one area that 'Melo must improve though is the efficiency of his offensive production.

    In his last five games, 'Melo has shot just 39.1 percent from the field and 29.4 from beyond-the-arc.  That's not the kind of efficiency that the Knicks need from the All-Star small forward heading into the heart of their schedule in the second-half of their season.

    The Knicks need Carmelo to step up and be a leader for New York, and he absolutely hasn't done that yet.  'Melo is proving to be the same "me-first" style of player that he was in Denver in his time in New York, and that's a dangerous thing for the Knicks.

    There's no doubt that the Knicks can pull things together, but they can't do that without increased efficiency, improved offensive production and an increase in leadership from the foundation of their franchise: Carmelo Anthony.

No. 1 Mike D'Antoni

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    When Linsanity was in full force and the Knicks were riding a seven-game winning streak, Mike D'Antoni was considered to be a genius.

    Now that the Knicks are riding a five-game losing streak and Linsanity has cooled down, D'Antoni is finding himself back on the coaching hot-seat, and for good reason.

    There's no reason why the Knicks, with Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, can't win games, and while D'Antoni can't actually step foot on the court and make them work like a team, it's something he has to do in practice and in the locker room. He hasn't been able to do that yet.

    While it might not seem like NBA coaches do more than yell at refs during games, there's no doubt that the Knicks should be able to win games with the right bench rotation and the right offensive sets. That's where D'Antoni has dropped the ball.

    The fast-paced D'antoni offense isn't working in New York, and that doesn't mean he's a bad coach, it just means he needs to switch the focus of things up, and until he does that the Knicks aren't going to win games.

    D'Antoni needs to take control of the Knicks and the skill that they have, before their five-game losing streak becomes a double-digit one and he finds himself in the unemployment line.

    Thanks for checking out the article, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @peteremerick