The 9-4 New York Knicks sit atop the Atlantic Division but not as happily as they did just a week ago. Most of the good feelings brought about by the team's 6-0 start are on their way out, as Mike Woodson's crew has played to a mediocre 3-4 record since their dramatic, comeback win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The poor on-court product has been the result of good competition, mixed with lackluster performances by a few key Knickerbockers. For instance, Steve Novak has suffered an eight-point decrease in three-point field-goal percentage, and the team is unable to get to the charity stripe.
Along with plenty of positive signs, there have been discouraging pieces to this year's Knicks team. We'll break down who has disappointed the most right now.
All stats are accurate as of Nov. 27.
Thomas has provided little-to-no advantages to the Knicks so far.
To Kurt Thomas' credit, not much was expected of him heading into this season. In his second stint with the team, the oldest player in the NBA has provided even less than what was expected to the Knicks.
He started a few preseason games in the absence of Amar'e Stoudemire. He looked, well, 40, and nothing like the Crazy Eyes that the Garden faithful embraced a decade ago.
As this season has progressed, Thomas has seen his minutes dwindle from limited duty to severely limited duty to not-even-mop-up duty. Aside from his start against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday—he can thank Jason Kidd's bad back for those eight minutes—Kurt has played a total of 25 minutes since the Knicks' third game.
If you normalize his stat line of 1.7 points and 2.7 boards per game to per 36 minutes, you get a respectable five points and nine bounds. Not bad for the most seasoned man in the game.
Still though, at the absolute maximum, Thomas will provide the Knicks with 5 to 10 minutes of post defense when needed. Nothing more, nothing less.
Thomas remains one of the last active Knicks to sniff a championship back in 1999, so New York fans will have his back regardless of what goes down on the hardwood.
Prigioni has not sufficient minutes to properly judge his performance.
Thirty-five-year-old rookie Pablo Prigioni appeared to be the Knicks' rendition of Steve Nash during the exhibition season. Over a dozen games deep into his NBA career, however, the Argentinian maestro is struggling to step onto the Garden floor.
The crisp pick-and-rolls and behind-the-backs that Prigioni provided in October morphed—right on cue—into telegraphed feeds, failed needle-threads and a phobia of field-goal attempts as soon as the regular season tipped off.
When he does so selfishly dare to take matters into his own hands and shoot the ball, he's usually off the mark. Prigioni is 11-of-31 from the field in 12 games, including a grotesque 3-of-16 clip from downtown.
I don't doubt that Pablo has it in him to be a respectable NBA point guard—he put together a solid 10-season career overseas—but the adjustment to American ball isn't going as smoothly as the Knicks planned.
With Jason Kidd out for the time being with back spasms, Prigioni may just have to play his way into—in his case—preseason form.
Novak has not yet played to the incredible bar he set for himself last year.
To be fair, Steve Novak set himself up for disappointment after maintaining a tremendous 47 percent mark from beyond the arc over 54 games last season.
After agreeing with New York on a four-year pact this summer worth $15 million, the same sort of accuracy was expected from the 29-year-old former journeyman—especially since Novak brings little-to-no other basketball skill to the court.
Unfortunately for Novak and the Knicks, the sharpshooter has ran into something he dodged all of last season: a slump.
In the season opener against the Miami Heat, Novak appeared to pick up right where he had left off. He had the touch from three, shooting 5-of-8 from long range. Following the team's second game, when Novak sank a modest 2-of-5 treys, came a rare cold spell from the sniper.
In his next nine games, he shot 31 percent from three-point range, which is average for those not named Novak. He sank 13 threes during that stretch but on 42 chucks.
Lately, he seems to have been reintroduced to his stroke, much to the chagrin of the Detroit Pistons, which he dropped five on from deep in seven attempts.
It's been a rough go-around for the reigning three-point king thus far, but it appears the Knicks' new $15 million man has it all figured out in 2012.
Fans were calling for Camby against the Nets, and he failed to impress.
Many fans, including myself, were perplexed at how little Marcus Camby had been playing through the season's first month, especially considering the team's recent defensive mishaps.
After just five minutes against the Nets on Monday, the 38-year-old center showed us why he's been planted at the end of Mike Woodson's bench.
The prospect of having a backup center with Camby's length was enticing to Knicks fans as the season approached (maybe not as enticing as it was to Glen Grunwald, who shelled out $13 million to the aging center, but enticing nonetheless), and for good reason. Starter Tyson Chandler is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and Camby's defensive accolades in a reserve role would certainly create a frontcourt force defensively.
Camby injured himself early in training camp, though, and didn't return to full strength until around the season opener. Woodson was reluctant to insert Camby into the rotation due to conditioning, and he racked up the dreaded DNP-CD four times in six games.
Against Brooklyn, Camby appeared slow and defeated on defense, as Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace entered the paint at will. Lopez (no king on the glass himself) and Reggie Evans greeted Camby's attempted box-outs as if the Cambyman was weightless, and they didn't allow the Knick to pull down a single board in his five minutes.
Camby, at full potential, provides Mike Woodson with unmatched frontcourt depth. Camby, right now, provides Woodson with a headache and an occupied, cushioned chair at the end of the sideline.
Wallace's ineptitude from three hasn't stopped him from chucking them up.
Yes, Rasheed Wallace. Here's why.
True, not much was expected from 'Sheed from the start. That is, from anybody besides the man himself. Upon returning to the NBA, Wallace announced a primary goal of his was to "Show y'all how post players really need to play."
Well, according to Rasheed, taking 49 percent of field goals from beyond the three-point line and averaging one free-throw attempt per game is how "post players really need to play."
In 12 games, Wallace has taken 88 shot attempts, with 43 coming from three-point territory—a very small percentage of them being justifiable attempts.
The most frustrating aspect of that stat is that 'Sheed has proven he can still post up with high efficiency.
Inside the restricted area, Wallace has sank 14 of his 20 attempts. In the paint, but outside of the restricted area, he has shot 3-of-9. In the post as a whole, he's averaging 1.7059 points per shot (via NBA.com's Advanced Stats).
To defend Wallace a bit, when you discount the corner-three, he's shooting 14-of-37 on threes from beyond the break, or an impressive 38 percent. Still, his preseason proclamation regarding his post play has been one big empty promise thus far.
You can find a great illustration of this here.
The disappointing part is that we've seen 'Sheed take other bigs to school in the paint this season. Instead, we watch him throw up one mindless three-ball after another, while New York continues to lack a true inside force on the offensive end.
But that's just 'Sheed being 'Sheed, I guess.
Follow John Dorn on Twitter at @JSDorn6 for some disappointing tweets.