- Ian Begley, ESPN New York Writer
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In early October, expectations for the Knicks were fairly high.
Most predicted that New York would finish among the top four teams in the East.
Now that they’ve failed to make the playoffs, those expectations seem a bit foolish.
But Amar'e Stoudemire insists they were way too low.
“They should have been a little bit higher if you ask me,” Stoudemire said on Sunday. “On paper we might be the best team in the league. We’ve got great players on this team who accomplished so much. We just couldn’t put it together.”
Those comments are sure to raise eyebrows around the NBA -- and among Knicks fans. New York certainly had veteran talent on the roster, but not enough to rival the Heat, Thunder or Pacers.
But give Stoudemire credit for this: he’s one Knick who exceeded expectations this season.
The ten-year veteran entered the season on a minutes restriction due to knee issues. No one around the team knew exactly what to expect from him, but they knew not to expect much. After all, Stoudemire had undergone three knee surgeries in a 12-month span.
Eventually, the former All Star shed his minutes restriction and started to flourish.
Since entering the starting lineup on March 3, Stoudemire is averaging 16.9 points per game on 57 percent shooting (stats through Friday’s games).
Numbers aside, Stoudemire was disgusted at times with the Knicks' poor play. He seemed highly irritated after the team’s loss to Washington earlier this month and complained publicly about the offense after a loss in Miami.
“It’s been a tough year. It’s been a roller coaster year for us all,” he said on Sunday. “... Not making the playoffs is not an option. That’s not an option for us. We’re definitely looking to make the playoffs every year.”
It's unclear, however, if Stoudemire will be around next season. His contract expires after the 2014-15 season and could be used in a trade by new president Phil Jackson.
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In early October, expectations for the Knicks were fairly high. Most predicted that New York would finish among the top four teams in the East. Now that they’ve failed to make the playoffs, those expectations seem a bit foolish.