What Will Rock Bottom Look Like for NY Knicks?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassFeatured Columnist IVMarch 23, 2017

Nov 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. The Pacers defeated the Knicks 103-96 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

You're looking at it. 

The New York Knicks have hit their rock bottom. That's what a foul on a three-pointer with five seconds to go will get you.

Call me an optimist, but I'm not sure it can get any worse (of course it can). 

The Knicks are 3-8 after blowing what seemed like a 47-minute lead to the Indiana Pacers. And after suffering a bad loss to the Detroit Pistons, a blowout to the Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs and a crushing defeat to the Houston Rockets, this was a lead the Knicks desperately needed to keep.

But instead, they lost it in one of the sickest ways you'll see all year. 

In terms of team morale, storylines, injuries and a .273 winning percentage—this is the Knicks' rock bottom. 

They're currently in a spot where simply nothing has gone right. With the top two options off their games, a supporting cast offering minimal support and key members of the lineup out with injuries, the Knicks are experiencing a perfect storm of disaster. 

And the eye of that storm is currently hovering over Madison Square Garden. But all storms clear up eventually.

I'm going to play the odds and say that blow the Pacers delivered was the final one—for now. 

Let's not forget who we're dealing with, or lose sight of the fact we're just three weeks into the season.

The nucleus of the Knicks offense is composed of two of the streakiest players on the planet. And at this current moment, they're in the midst of a cold one. 

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks and his teammates J.R. Smith #8 and Amar'e Stoudemire #1 walk into the locker room at half time against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden on November 10, 2013 in New York
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony hasn't been playing well. And no, 30 points on 28 shots isn't playing well at superstar standards. 

This hasn't been his finest stretch. He's shooting just 41.6 percent, down from 44.9 percent a year ago. But 11 games is just a stretch. Anthony has been in the league long enough for us to know that he'll eventually turn it up before likely cooling off again. 

J.R. Smith is no different. We know who he is by now. He's the guy who wins a Sixth Man of the Year award and then shoots 33 percent in the playoffs. So far this season, Smith is at 31 percent, meaning a heat wave is likely on its way.

With Anthony and Smith struggling to make shots, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton on the shelf and Iman Shumpert fouling three-point shooters on final possessions, rock bottom shows its face. It's currently the roughest stretch of turbulence of the 82-game flight, and it just happens to have come right after takeoff. 

But I'm familiar enough with Anthony and Smith to know they'll eventually catch fire. Last season, New York went on a 13-game winning streak in March—a streak that saw 'Melo average 33 points on 50 percent shooting and Smith average 23 points on 49 percent. 

When the Knicks' top guns heat up and some of banged-up bodies return, the Knicks are one of those teams capable of rattling off Ws in a hurry. 

I wouldn't get too caught up with their ugly record. At the moment, only five teams in the East are over the .500 mark, so the hole isn't as deep as it appears. Thankfully, teams like the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards have stunk just as much.

And despite the loss to the Pacers, which was absolutely brutal, the Knicks still showed signs of life. Smith had his best shooting night of the year and the team actually stepped it up on defense. 

The punch Indiana delivered to the Knicks was the one that might have knocked them on their backs. But it won't be the one that knocks them out. 

Consider this rock bottom for New York with clearer skies ahead.