Just one season removed from a 54-win campaign, the New York Knicks are not any good.
The problems go deeper than their 3-6 record, their third-to-last defensive efficiency or their current five-game home losing streak. The Knicks’ confidence has been shaken, and they are battling to get it back.
“Last year, we went through [a rough stretch] during the middle of the season, but we had already established ourselves as a team,” Carmelo Anthony told ESPN.com. “Our identity, our confidence was sky high, so when we took that hit we believed that we could get back out of that hole in the snap of a finger.
“Now, it’s happened to us early in the season and everybody’s kind of shaken up a little bit, not knowing how to figure it out, not knowing what’s going on. I don’t know if it’s a lot of distractions or things like that, but I don’t want to make excuses because we’re just not putting forth the effort.”
Actually, saying the Knicks are “not putting forth the effort” is a form of excuse-making, since it implies the problems are purely effort-based and not fundamental flaws in the team’s makeup. The high-profile addition of Andrea Bargnani this offseason and the recent injury to Tyson Chandler has decimated New York’s defense, and J.R. Smith‘s and Raymond Felton‘s inconsistencies have not helped.
The Knicks hope to get some of their confidence back against the equally troubled Pistons in Detroit on Tuesday, but they will have a hard time keeping their home losing streak going on Wednesday. The first-place Pacers visit Madison Square Garden going for what would be their 10th win in 11 tries this season.