The Knicks failed to make the playoffs and we could have seen it coming

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knicks_suck“Nobody was expecting this,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said of his team missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“At the beginning of the season, nobody ever thought we’d be in this situation, in this position that we’re in right now,” said star forward Carmelo Anthony, who will not play in the postseason for the first time in his 11 year career. After coming into last year’s postseason as the second seed in the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks are a lottery team. But to say no one was expecting this outcome would be a lie.

On Oct. 15 of last year, practically six months ago to the day, ESPN’s computer-based, analytics driven computer projection system called SCHONE predicted that the Knicks would finish the season 37-45. Their current record after 80 games? 35-45 and eliminated from the playoff race.

In explaining why the SCHONE projections had the Knicks faring so poorly, two of the reasons Kevin Pelton gave were the team’s projected 3-point outage and the aging roster. Both proved true to an extent, as you’ll see later in this column.

Six months ago, the team’s response to this prediction was typically and naturally bombastic.

“Sometimes there’s glitches in the computer,’’ Anthony said on Oct. 16. “That’s all I can say.’’

WoodsonWoodson took it even further, asking if the computer model is the one that plays. “It’s a computer system. I don’t think computers run up and down the floor,” Woodson said. “You still have to play the game, guys. I don’t get caught up in that. I don’t have any control over the computers. The only thing I can control is our team and how we play.’’

Half a year later, Woodson and Anthony were singing different tunes about how their season turned so sour.

Sheridan: Imagining Phil Jackson’s First Day on the Job

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We now have ESPN.com reporting that all the pieces are in place for Phil Jackson to take over the front office for the New York Knicks, which means there is a 50 percent chance it will happen.

But let’s go ahead and suppose the Worldwide Leader got one right – even though the highly respected Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is urging caution, saying things aren’t anywhere near done. Charley Rosen hinted at the same thing on this site 2 days ago.

SH Blog: Tyson Chandler not sold on Knicks; Embiid could miss Big 12 Tournament; Dragic is becoming elite in Phoenix

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Tyson ChandlerWith so many playoff and seeding races heating up as the NBA heads into the final month of its regular season, it pains me to lead off this blog with the New York Knicks.

But that’s just how dysfunctional they have become.

They are 2-13 since Feb. 1 and continue to regress each and every game. They are 6.5 games back of the Atlanta Hawks for the 8th-seed in the Eastern Conference with 20 games to play. This season is most certainly lost, so now it’s all about saving next year, and the year after. 

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Scotto: Knicks Making Melo’s Free Agency Decision Easy

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Carmelo AnthonyWho needs the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to come to town when you have the Knicks at Madison Square Garden?

Just when you think it can’t get worse for the Knicks, it does. Carmelo Anthony appears more tired than ever of being the ringleader.

Before facing the Miami Heat on Thursday night, Anthony told the media which factors he will consider when making his free agency decision – and it’s not good news for the Knicks.

“A lot of things are going to be thought about when that time comes,” he said. “Off the court, on the court, just a lot of things are going to have to be put all on the table.”

SH Blog: Scouts critical of Rondo, Irving and Rubio, D’Antoni not happy with Gasol’s public criticism

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NBA writers have been speaking with anonymous scouts as of late, and you have to wonder if some of those scouts are paying as much attention as they really should, based on some of their questionable analysis.

For example, saying you don’t like the Golden State Warriors’ chances in the playoffs because they’re not good enough defensively simply makes no sense, given that they are the third best defensive team in the league – the very best if you only count teams in the West. Objectively speaking, the statistics simply don’t back up such analysis. The Warriors are, however, a middling offensive team with too much dependency on Stephen Curry’s ability to create for the rest of the team. It would make much more sense to doubt them for their offensive woes than defense.

Still, it’s interesting to hear what people that evaluate the skill level of players for a living have to say about relevant players or teams around the league. Chris Broussard of ESPN took some notes on veteran scouts’ take on underrated and overrated players. Some noteworthy names that came up include Ricky Rubio, Kyrie Irving and Rajon Rondo. If you are a fan of those players, though, you’re not going to love what the scouts had to say.

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