Tuesday, March 4, 2014
JVG: Blame it on the roster
By Ohm Youngmisuk
The Knicks have lost seven straight and have won just two games since the end of January.
They are in a crazy free fall and Carmelo Anthony has run out of any possible explanation as to why the Knicks can’t win.
Former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy was asked to break down the Knicks’ woes on the "Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco" show on ESPN New York 98.7. And he pointed the finger at the roster.
“I think there are serious roster issues," Van Gundy said. "Along with that, they have their three most important perimeter players, [Raymond] Felton, [Iman] Shumpert and J.R. Smith, all played well to very well last year and each are having a subpar year this year. And then add in the two guys they signed, Metta World Peace and [Beno] Udrih, just bought out because of the little impact they had, and some injuries along the way, particularly to Tyson Chandler."
We've got to get better, more committed players. And when we do, all of us Knicks fans are going to be happier.
-- Jeff Van Gundy
Van Gundy added: “They are really struggling to find ways to stop people right now. I think their collective spirit has been shattered by this season, particularly after they had played so well last year winning the division title.”
Van Gundy also pointed to Amar'e Stoudemire's health and enormous contract that saps the Knicks’ cap.
“I think Stoudemire, his health has been a huge drain to their cap,” Van Gundy said. “He started out great here in New York. I think he still has seemingly worked very hard to get as good as he can be here, but right now you can’t count on him every day.”
While the Knicks have been able to count on Melo for 28 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals every game, Van Gundy said that Anthony deserves credit for the Knicks' 54 wins last season and blame for their utter failure this season.
“When you are the best player, you have to accept equal amounts credit and blame,” Van Gundy said. “He would have to say to himself, ‘Hey, listen, I have to do more and do better.’ And I think that is how your best players should think.
“He has had a terrific year, but I also think he is at a point in his career where he realizes stats that you are putting up while losing are rendered meaningless,” Van Gundy said. “Because at the end of the day, the stats that we really recognize are the ones put up when teams are winning.”
And a major reason why the Knicks aren’t winning these days is because of an underachieving roster above all else, according to Van Gundy.
“I think the focus has to be on what’s really wrong,” Van Gundy said of critics who place blame on everything from coach Mike Woodson to Madison Square Garden’s media policy. “We've got to get better, more committed players. And when we do, all of us Knicks fans are going to be happier.”