Isolate. The dictionary defines this word as “to set or place apart; detach or separate so as to be alone.” Let’s key in on that word “alone.” How many times have you seen one player win a series of games on a continual basis, especially in the playoffs? It didn’t work for Michael Jordan when he would face the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons in the postseason.
MJ would win a game here or there, but he couldn’t shoulder the entire weight by himself to win a series against Detroit. He knew he needed to play as a team to get passed that looming obstacle that was in Detroit. Eventually, Jordan and his teammates worked together by using each player’s strength to win six NBA titles.
So if the best player in NBA history couldn’t do it “alone,” why did head coach Mike Woodson and the New York Knicks feel that this would work for them? The Knicks had a win now mentality since most of the team was looking to sign up for AARP benefits after the end of this season.
The team started out red hot in the months of November and December with a combined record of 21-9. Madison Square Garden was all abuzz with the notion that this could be the Knicks year to return back to the glory days.
Yet it didn’t happen that way. This past weekend New York got booted from the playoffs by the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks are the ones only to blame. They lived and died by the Carmelo isolation play. Yes, a select few other players did score and contribute. Even with Jason Kidd and Amar'e Stoudemire being nonexistent in the playoffs, there should have been a better game plan instead of just relying on Anthony.
Michael Marot from the Huffington Post caught up with Mike Woodson after Game 6 to get his feelings on why the Knicks are out of the postseason.
"It's tough to go out this way," coach Mike Woodson said. "I didn't make it happen for us and that's what's disappointing."
Even in the series against Boston, the Knicks kept going back to the isolation play with Carmelo. Other Knicks players are running around, and he holds onto the ball and finally shoots a highly-contested shot.
Carmelo did his best, but one player does not a team make. It is like when you are playing XBOX and using the same play over and over again. It might work in the beginning, but once your opponent stops that play, you will lose. The Knicks failed to switch up the offense and made it easier for teams like the Pacers to defend them.
Iman Shumpert told ESPN’s Jared Zwerling that they need to be more productive on the offensive side.
"We need some more continuity as far as running something that everybody knows we're in it -- just something with more pace," he said. "We have a lot of dead possessions where we don't really have any cohesiveness. We're just sort of out there and it becomes watching whoever has the ball."
Shumpert has the potential to be a great player for New York. If the Knicks want to be Eastern Conference contenders, they will have to get younger legs on the court. Players like Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler could contribute for New York, but in a limited role. Certain changes need to be made if Carmelo looks to lead the Knicks to win a title.
The biggest change is that they need to have role players on the team to give Carmelo much needed support. New York has a few players that will become free agents, most notably J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin.
If the Knicks still feel they have a win now team, they must change up their offensive strategy or New York will be sitting at Spike Lee’s house watching the Eastern Conference Finals on TV.