Currently they are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and would make the playoffs if the season ended today, but they play a crucial game against the Milwaukee Bucks tonight that could determine which team will make the playoffs.
Here are three reasons why the Knicks shouldn't make the playoffs this season.
A long losing streak can really set any team back, especially during this shortened season with only 66 games instead of the usual 82. The Knicks didn’t just have one six-game losing streak this season, though—they had two.
The first one came during the middle of January. The Knicks opened the season 4-4 and finally looked like they were figuring out how to play as a team, winning the next four games and bringing their record to 8-4. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and the Knicks lost nine of their next 10 games to put them way behind the 76ers in the standings, who were leading the Atlantic Division at the time.
After somehow getting their record back over .500 by the end of February, the Knicks collapsed again and lost their first six games to open March. A team that wants to make the playoffs just can’t play that poorly with only a month and half left in the season.
After the team’s sixth straight loss in March, Knicks owner James Dolan decided he had seen enough of Mike D’Antoni and got him to “mutually agree” to step down as head coach. He was replaced with assistant coach Mike Woodson, who is only in his first year with the team.
When a head coach is fired midseason, the team is usually playing terrible at the time. This was true with the Knicks, but miraculously Woodson has turned everything around in no time. He took over and instantly had the team playing some of the best defense in the league, which has resulted in an 11-3 record.
The sudden turnaround makes no sense. The Knicks are extremely lucky their midseason coaching change has worked out as well as it has.
With all of the injuries the Knicks have suffered throughout this season, it’s remarkable they are still in the playoff hunt. Landry Fields is the only player on the team that has participated in all 56 of the Knicks’ games so far this season.
To open the season, the Knicks already had to deal with injuries to Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert. At the time the Knicks didn’t have Jeremy Lin, so this injury was crucial since Davis was expected to play a major role this season. Shumpert made his debut in the Knicks’ opening game against the Celtics, but suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss the next seven games.
Another major injury was the one suffered by Carmelo Anthony, who has been dealing with numerous problems this season. In January he missed two games with a wrist and ankle injury and needed to be sidelined again for seven games in February with a groin issue.
Currently, two of the Knicks’ starters are out of the lineup and don’t appear like they’ll be back any time soon.
Amar’e Stoudemire was originally expected to be out only two to four weeks, but it is now almost the two-week mark and coach Woodson recently stated he doesn’t expect STAT back in the near future.
Lin is suffering from a knee injury and recently said he will most likely be out the rest of the season, as well as the first round of the playoffs if the Knicks make it.
Having this many injuries to key players in one season almost always results in a team not making the playoffs.