Chandler Out; Smith In: Knicks Struggles Likely To Continue

Tyson-ChandlerAfter making some offseason moves that they thought would help put them into NBA’s elite, the New York Knicks have got off to a slow start.  A disappointing loss to the Charlotte Bobcats gave the Knicks the third-worst record in the East, which isn’t terribly bad news considering that they are only four games into the season, but the real bad news came in today: Tyson Chandler will be out 4-6 weeks with a fracture fibula (whatever that is).  Chandler (no relation to Raymond) won the Defensive Player of the Year award in his first season with the Knicks and helped to turn them into one of the better defensive teams in the league.  With defensive

Andrea Bargnani can simply not provide the defense that Chandler does.

Andrea Bargnani can simply not provide the defense that Chandler does.

specialists Iman Shumpert and Metta World Peace, the Knicks looked like they may actually have been a strong defensive squad this year, despite having Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Barngnain on the team.  Between now and the new year, though, the Knicks will be playing 26 games, likely without their defensive anchor, and that could spell trouble for a team that is already struggling.  Both Stoudemire and Bargnani have experience playing center, but neither brings the kind of defensive presence that Chandler has, and neither can rebound as well as Chandler.  Stoudemire, for his part, has only been averaging 11 minutes a game so far this season, while Bargnani only managed to grab a paltry 2.0 rebounds a game in the 21 minutes he’s been averaging. 

J.R. Smith will provide the Knicks with the offensive lift the need, but that might not be much help considering the loss of Chandler.

J.R. Smith will provide the Knicks with the offensive lift the need, but that might not be much help considering the loss of Chandler.

There is some good news for the Knicks: J.R. Smith will be returning to the line-up for their next game.  Smith will give the Knicks some much needed offense and versatility.  Though coach Mike Woodson had brought a good balance of offense and defense to the team, a line-up featuring Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Stoudemire and Bargnani could give the Knick an offensive advantage over some teams.  Without Chandler’s rebounding and defense, though, the Knicks current struggles will likely only worsen.  They will have a shot to redeem themselves against the Bobcats Friday in Charlotte, but it seems unlikely that the Knicks, even with a win Friday, will be able to put themselves in the race for home-court advantage in the first round without Chandler on the floor. 

Speak Your Mind

*