Now that the Knicks' season is mercifully over, you're probably wondering how to fill the time normally spent watching and complaining about your favorite basketball team. Here's a list of options to keep in mind:
1. Spend time with your loved ones - Trust me, you'll cherish the relationship points that come with missing out on watching the Heat blow out their second round opponent. They'll come in handy on a cold Saturday afternoon in December when you have to think up an excuse as to why you have to watch the Knicks play the 3-17 Bucks instead of going holiday shopping. Also, you love them and want to spend time with them, and all that nonsense...
2. Root for the Rangers - The Knicks may have been terrible, but there are still playoff games at Madison Square Garden this year. Even if you're not a hockey fan, there is not much more thrilling than Playoff Hockey, particularly during sudden-death overtime. And unlike in the NBA, the championship trophy doesn't get handed straight to the owner, so if the Rangers win, it won't be tarnished by the image of James Dolan holding the Stanley Cup.
3. Catch up on TV shows and movies you may have missed - I already gave you a list of movies to watch in an earlier Wonder Room. Here's a list of current of recently finished TV shows I highly recommend: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, House of Cards, True Detective, Parks and Recreation, Community, Orphan Black, Louie, and Dexter (seasons 1-5 only). Here's a list of TV shows you should never watch under any circumstances: Dexter (seasons 6-8), The Big Bang Theory, any show by Tyler Perry, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, any reality show starring rich women with plastic faces, The Big Bang Theory, anything on CBS, and The Big Bang Theory. Have I mentioned how much I hate The Big Bang Theory?
4. Explore the World - I know it sounds strange for those of us who spend 24 hours a day on our computers, but there's something called the "outside world." On the rare occasions that I've visited this mysterious realm, I've found it to be quite an enjoyable place. One of my life goals is to visit every US metropolitan area with a team from one of the four major sports. So far I've been to 14 out of 43, plus I've been to three other cities' airports on layovers (one of which marks the closest I'll likely ever come to visiting Detroit.)
5. Lock yourself in a hyperbaric chamber for six months - It's the next best thing to fast forwarding straight to opening night!
Player of the Year - Carmelo Anthony
While it may have been the first time he ever missed the playoffs in his NBA career, this season was the greatest individual season Carmelo Anthony has ever had. Anthony led the league in minutes per game this season, becoming the second Knick to ever do so. (Anthony Mason led the league in MPG in '95-‘96.) He also set a new personal best by shooting .402 from three point range. That percentage is the second-highest ever by a player who led the league in minutes per game, trailing only Larry Bird's .427 mark in '84-85.
In addition to his three point prowess, Melo also set personal bests in blocks and rebounds. Anthony had 622 rebounds, 167 threes, and 51 blocks this season. No one in NBA history has ever reached all three of those numbers in a single season! Another stat Melo set a new career high in: free-throw percentage. Anthony shot .848 from the foul line this season. He became the first player in NBA history to shoot better than 84% from the line, make 150 threes, and average 8 rebounds per game in a single-season! Hopefully someone at ESPN sees these two paragraphs and finally realizes that Carmelo is not just a one-dimensional player.
Of course, that's not to say that Anthony isn't one of the most talented scorers to ever wear a Knicks uniform. Let's start with the obvious: Melo set a Knicks record with 62 points in one game! Anthony scored 2112 points this season, a total matched by only two players in Knicks history: Richie Guerin scored 2303 in '61-'62 and Patrick Ewing beat the mark two seasons in row, scoring a Knicks record 2347 points in '89-'90 and 2154 in '90-'91. One year after leading the league by averaging 28.7 PPG, Melo averaged 27.4 PPG. In doing so, he not only became the first Knick to ever average 27 PPG in two consecutive seasons, he became the first Knick to ever average at least 27 in any two seasons!
Rookie of the Year - Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had the best rookie season of any Knick in the last 25 years. His 824 points were the most by any Knicks rookie since Mark Jackson and the most scored by a player chosen 24th in the previous year's draft since Latrell Sprewell in 1992. Hardaway led all NBA rookies and set a Knicks rookie record with 130 three pointers. On January 30th, Hardaway became the first rookie ever to go 5-5 from two point range and hit 6 threes in one game. Less than a month later, he put on a memorable show in front of a national audience by setting a rookie record with 36 points in the Rising Stars Challenge. (The only players to score more than 36, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Kenneth Faried, all did so as sophomores.)
Finally, as we all know, Tim Hardaway Jr. is better than his father and Kobe Bryant. With 130 three-pointers, THJR had more threes in his rookie season than his father and Kobe Bryant each had in their first two seasons combined! Kobe Bryant's season-high point total in his rookie year was 24. Tim Hardaway Sr.'s was 28. THJR's season-high was 29! Tim Hardaway Jr. played in 10 games in which his team won by at least 20 points. His father played in just five in his rookie year, and Kobe, despite playing for a team that finished 19 games better than the '13-'14 Knicks in the standings, played in just eight. Are there any doubters left? Tim Hardaway Jr. is better than his father and Kobe Bryant.
Coach of the Year - Mike Woodson
Let's just move on.
Three Point Shooter of the Year - J.R. Smith
As mentioned above, Tim Hardaway Jr. set a Knicks rookie record for most three pointers made and Carmelo Anthony's .402 three point percentage was the highest by a player to lead the league in minutes per game since Larry Bird. In addition, Pablo Prigioni finished second in the league in three point field goal percentage, at .464 Despite all that, J.R. Smith was the obvious three point king. I've already written in detail about his late season three point exploits, capped off by the day in Miami when he attempted an NBA-record 22 threes and set a Knicks record with 10 threes made. However, even I was unable to capture all the marks that Smith set that day. With his 22 attempts, he passed John Starks for the most games in Knicks history with at least 11 attempts. Obviously he knew about the record and wanted to celebrate, so he decided to attempts 11 threes...and the attempt 11 more. Finally, no one in NBA history has ever made ten threes in a game more than once...except for J.R., who has now done it three times!
Clyde Frazier's Garbled Name of the Year - Andrea BARNYARNI
What a year it was to be a 7-foot Italian who doesn't know how to rebound or play defense! I urge you all to relive some of his greatest moments in Deadspin's tribute video. As a bonus, here's some footage of great defensive fundamentals:
Defensive Player of the Year - Tyson Chandler
Iman Shumpert deserves this award. The Knicks' defensive rating with him on the court this season was 9 points better than it was with him off the court. However, the stats I have for Chandler are much better, so he gets the award. First of all, Chandler extended his streak of consecutive seasons averaging more than one block per game to 13. Only 4 other players in NBA history played at least 13 seasons and averaged more than one block per game in all of them: Elton Brand, Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Shaquille O'Neal. This season the Knicks had two players who once won Defensive Player of the Year, in Chandler and Metta World Peace. Unfortunately, injuries prevented them from seeing much playing time together. Had the two of them been healthy, the season might not have ended after game 82. In the 40 minutes that Chandler and Metta were on the court together, the opponents shot just .275 from the field and scored just 54 points. Their defensive rating of 66.7 points allowed per 100 possessions was the highest by any Knicks tandem in a decade and the second highest of any duo in the league (min. 50 possessions), trailing only Utah's Mike Harris and Ian Clark (who and who?)
6th Man of the Year - Cole Aldrich (well actually Tim Hardaway Jr, but I want to spread the wealth)
As I mentioned in the last Wonder Room of the season, Aldrich became the first Knick to average 14 rebounds per 36 minutes in one season since Willis Reed nearly 50 years ago. One underrated aspect of Cole's season was his surprisingly great free throw percentage. Aldrich shot .867 from the foul line, breaking the Knicks record for highest FT% by a center (min. 30 attempts.) The record was previously held by Michael Doleac, who shot .861 from the line in '03-'04. For obvious reasons, Aldrich became a fan favorite. While it might have something to do with his tenacity, rebounding ability, and surprisingly smooth baby hook shot, the real reason is much more likely due to the fact the he was once drafted 11th overall. Prior to Aldrich, the last three Knicks players who were drafted 11th overall were Derek Harper, Allan Houston, and Jared Jeffries. Speaking of which...
This Season in Jared Jeffries History
Jared Jeffries retired last offseason, which meant that the '13-'14 season was the first NBA season without Jeffries since '01-'02. Is it a coincidence that like '01-'02, this year's Knicks did not make the playoffs? Yes.
Anyway, the most important Jeffries news of the season came in January, when he became the host of a show on the Outdoor Channel called Modern Fishing with Jared Jeffries. Surprisingly, the show is not being touted as one of the Emmy front-runners.
This Season in JJST Memorial Fun Fact of the Night History
This year was a down season for the Fun Facts. Over the course of last year's regular season, I posted 127 Fun Facts. This year, there were only 48 Fun Facts, with a total of 1667 recs. The most recs one Fun Fact got was 70:
Here are my two favorite Fun Facts of the season:
Bluecheese's Rambling Stat of the Season
The Knicks failed to make the playoffs this season for the first time since '09-'10. That year, their record was 29-53. It was the first time they had lost more than 50 games in a season since '05-'06, when they went 23-59. That year, the Heat won their first NBA Title. The Heat won their last NBA title in '12-'13. That season, the Knicks finished 54-28 and won their division. 2013 was the last time the Knicks made the playoffs...until 2015???