While the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs will be fighting for the NBA championship, the New York Knicks will be licking their wounds while trying to figure out how they can become perennial contenders.
While the 2012-13 season was a huge step for the franchise, many glaring holes were exposed during the postseason and aggravated in the past few days.
The 2012-13 Knicks were the oldest team in the history of the NBA, and that’s starting to show. The next couple of months are going to be the true test for the Knicks as they will either tighten their grip on the Atlantic division or fall back into obscurity.
The Knicks haven't exactly been the best when it comes to picking players in the draft in the past decade, but they did pick Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert, so maybe that's a new trend. Either way, the Knicks' draft pick for this year can't be a bust. They simply can't afford it.
Here are some of the areas and positions the Knicks have to upgrade before next season.
The New York Knicks were not a great rebounding team by any measure during this season.
The Knickerbockers were 25th in rebounding with 40.6 rebounds per game. So when they faced the No. 1 rebounding team in the league, the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks were at an obvious disadvantage. In the pivotal Game 6, the Pacers had 43 rebounds to the Knicks' 36, and Indiana grabbed almost as many defensive rebounds, 32, as the Knicks’ did total.
Although Tyson Chandler led the Knicks with 10.7 rebounds, his first time reaching double digits since 2007-08, the rest of the team was very unremarkable when it came to rebounding.
Carmelo Anthony had the second most rebounds on the team with 6.9 and Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire had only 5.0 RPG.
The Knicks are in desperate need for another rebounder who can give the Knicks an edge in the paint.
This year, Carmelo Anthony saw a lot of playing time at the power forward position, and he did a solid job. He registered a 24.8 PER when playing at the 4 and gave the Knicks some much-needed breathing room.
However, as I mentioned earlier, rebounding is not an area that Melo excels at, and that’s how the Knicks got exposed in the playoffs.
In the Knicks’ final game of the season, the starting frontcourt consisted of Chandler, Shumpert and Melo. While that trio would be the envy of most of the NBA, and Shumpert has the potential to become a star, they didn’t get a lot of help from the rest of the bench.
Chris Copeland, Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin combined for just 16 points, and Steve Novak didn’t even enter the game.
The Knicks need to add more versatility to their frontcourt. Steve Novak is a three-point specialist, but when his shot isn’t falling he doesn’t belong on the floor.
However, offense is not the problem for the Knicks. What they need is a power forward who can help Chandler protect the paint and get defensive stops. The Knicks got that in sparks from both Rasheed Wallace and Kenyon Martin, but they need someone with more staying power.
The Knicks' point guard situation is a huge question mark at the moment. While Raymond Felton is under contract until 2014-15 with a player option for 2015-16, Jason Kidd just retired, which leaves only Felton and Prigioni on the roster.
However, Prigioni could part too as he is set to enter free agency as a restricted free agent. But there have been conflicting reports as to whether the Argentine will leave or not.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that the Knicks will be able to compete with just Felton and Prigioni running the show.
Felton played 34 minutes per game last year, and giving him any more playing time will undoubtedly wear him out. Prigioni played just 16 MPG, but because he is 36 years old, it would make more sense to bring in a younger point guard in free agency or in the draft to take over Kidd’s minutes.