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Just The Sports: No Silver Lining

Just The Sports

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No Silver Lining

The NBA's 82-game season is already marathon enough, but when a team starts the season by only winning nine of its first thirty-four games for a winning percentage of .265, which is exactly what the New York Knicks have done, the journey becomes even that much more interminable. In hopes of trying to find a silver lining in the Knicks season, some crumb on which a Knicks fan can nibble on the way to the team's future appearance in the 2008 NBA draft lottery, I thought perhaps there was a possibility that the losses of this season's Knicks team were not as bad as their forty-nine losses of the 2006-07 season. What happened at the end of my search was that I discovered my theory was in a word, erroneous.

Not only have this season's Knicks been losing games at a far higher rate than they did last year, in a season when the team should have been improving and preparing themselves for a playoff berth, they have also had worse losses, losing in a more embarrassing manner. Last season, when the Knicks came up on the losing end of a game, they were outscored by 11.5 points per 100 possessions and this year, their margin of defeat has increased to an appalling 15.0 points per 100 possessions. The Knicks on offense are so anemic they are neither averaging one point per shot attempt (.98 PSA) nor one point per team possession (99.5 points per 100 possession). In addition, in their losses, the Knicks are only managing a true shooting percentage of 48.9%, a far cry from last season's team's 51.7 TS% in losses.

If anything can serve as a deathknell to the current Knicks administration, it should be the fact the Knicks are regressing in more than one way. It would be one thing for a team to lose close games, showing it is right on the cusp of realizing its potential, but to lose games in such a decided manner, especially on the professional level where there should not be such a wide gap between teams' abilities to win, lends credence to the conclusion the current structure of the team is flawed.

Unfortunately for anyone who follows the Knicks, there seems to be no light at the end of this tunnel. Instead, there is only more darkness.



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