With 41 games behind the New York Knicks in this 2012-2013 campaign, it’s officially mid-season time and the Knickerbockers stand at a solid 28-15 record, good for second best in the East. Time to take a look back at which players surprised us, which storylines boggled our minds, and other random things that we can all share a laugh about. Enjoy.
Most Surprising Player
This one is a bit tricky, with every fan’s and analysts’ expectations of each individual Knick being different. Jason Kidd would likely be a popular pick for this “award,” but I’m going to go ahead and hand it over to Chris Copeland. Kidd’s a future Hall-of-Famer and his game is much more reliant on his fundamentals and skill than his athleticism, so the age was never too much of a concern for me, despite his regression the past few seasons. Copeland, though, was a summer-league invite turned NBA starter on a contending basketball team. In those six starts Cope has averaged 13.7 points per game while shooting impressively – 53% from the field and 44% from downtown – in just 22 minutes a night. Even with the full roster coming into fruition, with the returns of Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire, Copeland has still been a go-to bench player in the rotation, playing 17 minutes a night in the past five games.
Most Disappointing Player
I’m a bit stuck on this one. On one hand J.R. Smith has not increased his scoring efficiency whatsoever from last season to this season, in fact it has worsened. His effective field goal percentage (which adjusts for three-point makes) dropped from a 49% clip in 2012 to 44% clip this season. On the other side, I expected Ronnie Brewer to actually be in the rotation this far into the season. Perhaps even starting. As it turns out, he hasn’t played a 20-minute game since December 17th and has played for a total of 43 seconds in the past three contests. This isn’t exactly surprising with Brewer’s cancerous inability to provide anything positive on the offensive end, his decreasing effectiveness on defense and the welcome play of Iman Shumpert and Chris Copeland. Meanwhile, Smith is still playing his heart out on defense and on the boards, so this one goes to Brewer.
Play of the Year
Most Valuable Player
Carmelo Anthony is legitimately in the MVP race. Not just the MVP for the Knicks, but the MVP of the league. Says something now doesn’t it? Anthony has been walking the walk this season, owning the highest usage percentage of his career, which is good for tops in the league, while also honing a career high effective field goal percentage at 51.4%. At 29.4 points per game, Anthony ranks second in the league in that category and his rejuvenated effort on the defensive end, though sporadic at times, has been a great impact on the squad. One could vouch for Tyson Chandler, with the Knicks beating the Miami Heat in Miami with Melo on the sideline and Tyson being the focal point of the Knicks defense, as well as an efficiency freak on offense. However, it’s hard to find many who would rather the Knicks keep Tyson and toss Carmelo, rather than vice-versa.
Most Interesting Storyline
The ol’ Honey Nut Cheerios myth followed by James Dolan’s planting of microphones on the court takes the cake here. I have to say, being a fan of this organization for so long, nothing really surprises me anymore, especially concerning the Knicks’ owner. This is a two-part storyline though, the first being Garnett’s trash-talking with Anthony where he allegedly said that Melo’s wife LaLa tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios. There are no real facts to prove this occurred, but strong support from many rather unreliable sources say otherwise. In what can be assumed to be a linked situation, James Dolan ordered employees to sit by a Knicks-Bulls matchup at Madison Square Garden with microphones in order to pick up what was being said by Carmelo Anthony. Both are, well, interesting to say the least. Much like most of the Knicks’ off-court storylines in recent history really.
Most Upsetting Injury
My choice will have to be Raymond Shumpert Stoudemire’s. Wait, damn. I’ll leave this one for you to decide. Felton’s pinky, which cost him a handful of games where the Knicks had an awfully tough time creating good looks and penetrating the paint, Shumpert’s ACL, which kept him out for nearly half of the year and hindered his development, or Stoudemire’s knee, which sidelined him for nearly as long as Shumpert, and left a gaping hole in the Knicks talent-wise?