The New York Knicks are out of the playoffs after losing to the Indiana Pacers in six games. The Knicks struggled offensively for most of the series and have only themselves to blame for missing out on a chance to play the Miami Heat in the conference finals.
After winning 54 games in the regular season, the Knicks didn’t live up to the expectations in the playoffs. The Indiana Pacers are a solid basketball team, but the Knickerbockers have every reason to be disappointed. With so many missed shots from their star players, they have to feel like they missed out on an opportunity to make something happen.
Here’s what we learned about the Knicks from their second-round matchup with the Pacers.
Carmelo Anthony’s playoff legacy remains up in the air
Whether or not this postseason was a success for Melo depends on whether you’re a glass half-full or a glass half-empty person.
On the plus side, Anthony helped the Knicks beat the Celtics and got out of the first round, which had been a hurdle for him and the Knicks in the past few years. Additionally, he had postseason highs in points and field-goal percentage in Game 6 against the Pacers.
On the other hand, many Knicks fans aren’t going to be satisfied by all those things. A division title is nice and beating Boston is always appreciated, but what these fans are really yearning for is a championship. As long as Melo can’t deliver on that promise, they will deem him a failure.
Melo was uninspiring in Games 3 and 4, which put the Knicks in a 3-1 hole that they never recovered from. He is 29 years old, and his time is running out.
Jason Kidd should strongly consider retirement
Jason Kidd didn’t have an amazing statistical season, but every Knicks fan would agree that he brought a lot more to the team than his regular-season averages of 6.0 PPG, 3.3 APG and 4.3 RPG.
That being said, his playoff performance was abysmal. When the Knicks needed him to be a leader and guide this team on the way to the conference finals, he was nowhere to be found.
His playoff stats are so horrible it’s almost hard to believe. He didn’t score a single point in the entire second round despite averaging 14.7 minutes. In fact, the last time Kidd scored at least one point was in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Boston Celtics.
If this is all Kidd has left in the tank, then he shouldn't come back for another season.
Iman Shumpert is the real deal
When the Knicks found themselves with a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter on Saturday, it wasn't Carmelo Anthony or even J.R. Smith who stepped up to get them back into the game. Instead, it was Iman Shumpert who knocked down three straight three-point shots to cut the Pacers’ lead to one point.
Saturday’s Game 6 was one of the best performances from Shumpert in the playoffs. Unlike a certain Smith, who shot just 28 percent from the field in the series and 4-of-15 in Game 6, Shumpert didn't cower. He showed that he’s someone the Knicks can count on in the future.
Shumpert is just 22 years old and one of the few players on this roster who could stay in New York for the long term. Knowing the Knicks, they will probably try to trade him soon and actually came close to a deal this season, but that would be a huge mistake.
The Knicks' big men let them down
There’s a lot of blame that can be put on the Knicks’ scorers, but the thing that hurt New York the most was that the Pacers were allowed to do whatever they wanted in the paint.
A mere week ago, Tyson Chandler was named to the All-Defensive First Team as the first Knick since Charles Oakley in 1994. Against the Pacers, Chandler didn’t look like he belonged in anyone’s defensive lineup.
He was completely dominated by Roy Hibbert, who averaged 13.3 PPG and 10.3 RPG in the series. While Chandler fouled out of Game 6 with just two points and six rebounds, Hibbert stepped up with 21 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, including this rejection of Melo’s dunk attempt.
That being said, while Chandler deserves the lion’s share of the blame, he didn't get a lot of help from Amar’e Stoudemire or Kenyon Martin. The latter averaged just seven points and 3.7 rebounds in the series, and like Chandler, he fouled out of Game 6.
Stoudemire’s return to the court was one of the most anticipated events of the season, yet it ended up being completely anticlimatic. He averaged just 8.3 minutes and had no impact whatsoever on the series.