After a campaign full of ups an downs, it would be easy to evaluate 2008-09 as "average." In this first year under coach Mike D'Antoni, N.Y. was at one point beating teams like the Rockets and Suns and looked like they would be back in the Playoffs. But since then, their level of play has fallen off dramatically.
While it is hard to criticize D'Antoni, as he's done a great job this year, there are some key points that Knicks should consider when they begin to prepare for next season. While the main mission for '09, to get the Knicks back to the "respectable" level, was accomplished, 2009-10 must see even more improvement.
D'Anotni's uptempo style changed many facets of the Knicks' game offensively, but the lack of defense has hurt them tremendously down the stretch. The Knicks play sloppy defense and are unable to guard true stars such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Both of them put on a show in their trips to the Garden this season.
The lack of defense has also hurt the Knicks late in games. They're rarely out of a game, but they've been unable to finish against teams like Orlando and Miami despite big leads heading into the fourth quarter.
The Knicks' laundry list is undoubtedly long, but it has been shortened since Isaiah Thomas left. With Donnie Walsh as the general manager, fans can look forward to the 2009-2010 season with the free agency frenzy of 2010 awaiting on the horizon.