The 2015-2016 Knicks are without a doubt one of the NBA’s most inconsistent and perplexing teams. Big wins this week against likely playoff contenders Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks (twice) have Knicks fans thinking of the possibilities of moving into playoff contention. However, fans who have been keeping up with the team know that with zero draft picks in the upcoming draft and the dominance of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference, this season is all about developing young talent while trying to make at least of bit of noise in the postseason. For the Knicks, some things have gone right (KP), some things have gone wrong (losing to the Bulls by 27 points), and many things can be improved (more games against the Nets) over the next 45 games. With the NBA season rapidly approaching its midway point, I thought it would be fitting to dive into some midseason awards and predictions for the squad.
Most Important Player
Aaron Afflalo has always been an extremely consistent two guard, shooting an eFG% of 51.8% over his eight year NBA career. However, this year he is shooting a near career-high 48% from the field and 37% from 3-point range. In addition, Afflalo is on pace to set a career high in rebounding, which has shown itself in recent games. Most importantly, Afflalo has been a significant piece of the Triangle Offense system and its improvement over the coarse of the year. Phil has not been shy in saying that the offense takes time to learn, so maybe it is just coincidence that Afflalo’s recent successes have aligned with the recent successes of the offense as a whole. Nonetheless, the team has been feasting as of late. Melo and Porzingis will continue to get theirs, but for the Knicks to contend Afflalo will have to continue to distribute, rebound, and dominate smaller guards.
Best Dunk of the Year
Kristaps Porzingis over LaMarcus Aldridge
Godzingis (the nickname is good for Tshirt sales I guess?) has been tearing up the NBA over the first half of the season, winning the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year Award in both November and December. I was in attendance for the Knicks Draft Party this summer, and although most were harsh, even the pundits that saw the talent the kid had could not predict the type of impact the big man would have from day one. The 7’3” Latvian has taken over the airwaves, the blogosphere, and the NBA world with his impressive dunking and three-point abilities. One of the best putback attempts he has had this season (there are a few) in my opinion was the one over LMA on November 2nd. Not only did Porzingis send LaMarcus about three feet to the right, but he also threw it down one-handed with authority against he guy that turned the Knicks down almost immediately in free agency. Maybe he will think twice about his decision next time (He won’t as the Spurs are a top three team in the NBA and the Knicks are the Knicks..Manhattan is cool though I guess).
Biggest Improvement Needed in the Second Half
Derek Fisher was a perplexing hire for the new Knicks President Phil Jackson when he stepped on board last year. Analyst’s opinions on the coach have ranged from atrocious, to at least he’s better than Fred Hoidberg and Billy Donovan, to decent throughout this season. Many times, Derek Fisher looks lost on the court and often costs his team points with the third most coach’s technicals in the league. However, recently Fisher has begun to command his team more in timeouts and draw up unique ATO-plays. The most recent games against the Hawks and Bulls have shown that the team is beginning to flourish in the triangle. Provided the team continues to get amazing production from Aaron “Double A” Afflalo, Derek Fisher will make Phil’s decision to keep the coach less and less problematic.
Most Likely To Get Robbed Next
Sasha Vujacic flat out does not deserve a spot on the Knicks roster. The veteran (?) can’t shoot the ball, turns the ball over at the worst times, and has been riding the bench for much of the last few weeks. However, the one thing the man can do is run a Triangle Offense, and that is what is stopping the Knicks from calling up JimerTime from the Westchester Knicks squad. With the string of recent Knicks players getting robbed (Cleanthony Early via a Uber hostage crisis at 4am in Queens NY and Derek Williams via bringing three lovely ladies he met in the strip club back to his house), the rest of the Knicks squad should be on their heels. Vujacic is a total wild card, and with his diminishing playing time and lack of proper ball-handling skills he will be a prime candidate for the next attack. My money is on Yugoslavian backpage escorts on the Minnesota roadtrip.
Best Clyde Suit of the First Half
Easy. The suit just drips sex. This look straight out of the 90’s, almost a carbon copy of the classic Solo cup logo:
It doesn’t get much better than this, but knowing Clyde it most certainly does.
Second Half Predictions
The Knicks will need a strong second half of the season if they would like to salvage any postseason success. With no draft picks in the upcoming draft, the next year looks to be dull unless the Knicks do some damage in the playoffs. If the Knicks continue to push and blow past the Celtics and Pistons, they can set themselves up for a prime 3 vs 6 matchup against the Heat, Hawks, or Raptors. Having played well against these teams so far, I like the chances, although a second round matchup against the Cavs or Raptors would probably mark the end of the season. However, the season will not be lost with the continued development of Kristaps Prozingis, Jerian Grant, and Langston Galloway, the improvement of Coach Fisher and Aaron Afflalo, and the development of the triangle into next season. Let’s go Knicks.