- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Are the Knicks headed in the wrong direction? One NBA Hall of Famer says yes.
Shortly after the Knicks' loss to the Clippers on Sunday, former Lakers great and ESPN analyst Magic Johnson stated that New York is going backward, not forward, recently.
Sure, the Knicks (32-17) have won six of eight, but four of those wins came against teams that were under .500.
Defensively, the Knicks aren't the same team they were earlier in the season. Just look at the numbers entering play Sunday.
In their 8-1 start to the season, New York ranked fourth in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and sixth in opponents' field goal percentage.
In the 39 games that followed (before Sunday's game), the Knicks had fallen off remarkably.
In that span, New York ranked 19th in the NBA in defensive efficiency and 23rd in opponent field goal percentage.
To be fair, Mike Woodson has dealt with a bevy of injuries this year. He has also had to implement new faces into his rotation throughout the season.
So there's a feeling among some observers that the best is yet to come for this team, once the Knicks settle into defined roles after the All-Star break.
But Magic doesn't think so.
Question: Do you agree? Are the Knicks heading backward instead of forward at this point in the season?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
13dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford