You don't usually expect big talk from a team struggling just to make the playoffs, but Tyson Chandler is all about defying expectations—and doing so defiantly. He has a message for the Eastern Conference elite, at least if they're listening (per the New York Post's Marc Berman): “I always thought we’d really give our ourselves a shot of making the playoffs. I still believe if we get in there, somebody’s going to be in trouble."
By most accounts, it's the Knicks who will be in trouble.
We'll assume Chandler was talking about someone else, though—namely the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. New York is 1-2 against Miami this season and faces them again this Sunday. Mike Woodson's club is also 1-2 against the Pacers.
Of course, actually getting to the postseason is another matter altogether. New York's remaining schedule is anything but a cakewalk. In addition to facing Miami, the Knicks will play the Brooklyn Nets (twice), the Toronto Raptors (twice), the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards. None of those games are guaranteed wins.
As for Chandler, he'll need to step up his play as much as anyone. Though he's averaging close to a double-double this season, his status as a Defensive Player of the Year contender is all but forgotten.
Knicks defensive rating with Tyson Chandler on the court: 106.9. Knicks defensive rating with Chandler off the court: 106.9.— devin kharpertian (@uuords) April 2, 2014
The rest of the Knicks have their work cut out for them, too. They'll need J.R. Smith to be at his best, and they'll need nothing short of hero-ball from Carmelo Anthony. After a 3-2 West Coast road trip, New York's margin for error is dangerously thin.
According to Hollinger's playoff odds, the Knicks' chances of making the postseason are just 14.2 percent. Even if the Knicks don't make the playoffs, chances are somebody's going to be in trouble—and it might be Mike Woodson.
Since Phil Jackson's arrival, speculation about the head coach's future has run rampant, with the New York Daily's Frank Isola claiming, "Woodson is a long shot to survive the anticipated purge at MSG."
The Knicks will likely have to prove Chandler right to secure their coach's future, and that's a long shot.