The Knicks are 2-4 to open this abbreviated season. It's not time to panic or overstate things. There is no need to talk of canning a coach or passing judgement on this year's team.
But it's also not time to ignore the shortcomings thusfar and give the team a pass for their play. Yes we have weaknesses and injuries and chemistry to use as excuses for this poor play. But given those reasons, it's still not unreasonable to expect better from the Knickerbockers.
Here is my (weak) attempt to balance my expectations of the team with the understanding of pateience amongst a new group of players.
6 games does not define a season. That is the most important thing right now. 6 games is nothing. The only thing 6 games can provide is confidence or lack there-of.
This team may be far from perfect, but that is still no reason to accept poor play from the guys playing. I firmly believe the Knicks can win games without being at full strength. Can they win games against elite teams? I'd like to think so, but I don't necessarily expect it if they aren't 100%. But can they beat the Raptors and Bobcats? They fucking should be able to! I can even sympathize with a last second loss against teams like that. The Bobcats suck, but they aren't entirely horrible. They nearly dished the Heat a loss a few days ago! Dwyane Wade hit a game winning layup with 3 seconds left to win it. Charlotte is capable like every team is. But the Knicks are not taking games down to the wire. They are giving up the lead early in the game and are going down by 10-15+ points every game it seems. Their defense looks like shit. Their offense looks like shit. Opposing teams are consistently wide open. They are blowing by our defenders and getting into the lane. The Knicks are routinely making the worst teams in the league look like masters of efficiency.
It's not all on D'Antoni's head or Mike Woodson's head either. The players need to step the fuck up and do something. Rally themselves. Do something. I have taken advantage of the free League Pass down here in NC so I am watching these games when I can. I see Carmelo as one of the only guys trying to win games. There is a lot of standing around by guys on offense. They look passive. They look like they have no fire and are already tired a week into the season. Unacceptable.
We have plenty of newer pieces, but when I see other new-look teams winning games (Clippers, Cleveland, Portland, Denver, Utah) I honestly wonder why the Knicks cannot seem to muster more wins. How long is the chemistry honeymoon supposed to last? How many games do these guys need to play together before they are ready to win? Is it too much to ask for a supremely talented group of guys to figure it out on the fly against the lower echelon of NBA teams?
Look, I understand the issues surrounding the Knicks. I understand the awkwardness of a head coach being essentially forced to bring in a 2nd head coach to handle defensive schemes. Of course it looks like Woodson is breathing down D'Antoni's neck. It didn't work in Phoenix... it's too early to tell here though. I understand that we have injuries and new players too. But you know what? Toney Douglas has run this team in the past and done just fine. The only real change to our starting lineup is Tyson Chandler (who has always been a guy content to grab rebounds and score on mostly putbacks). The offense was never expected to run through him which means our gameplan shouldn't necessarily change drastically. Our energy should absolutely not collapse when a ROOKIE gets injured in game 1. We shouldn't be blaming losses on the idea that our next starting PG (Baron Davis- who has NEVER played a game for NY) is injured for a few weeks.
The Knicks are beating themselves right now. I believe they will right the ship soon. But seeing them dominated by inferior teams has to stop. The Knicks aren't the only team that has made changes to their roster. It's ok to expect results now. I'm not saying this team should be undefeated (although let's be honest; given our early schedule and starting with a Boston win, the Knicks could EASILY be 6-0 right now). Boston, Golden State, LA Lakers, Sacramento, Toronto, Charlotte. I'm done trying to justify losses. We need to start a win streak. We need to start playing with a chip on our shoulder. The only thing stopping these Knicks is themselves. It sure as shit shouldn't be a 30lb overweight Boris Diaw, or Andrea Bargnani.