There are 13 games until the playoffs begin. I cannot remember a time, so late in the season, that we had so little information about what the Knicks will look like at playoff time. The five game winning streak is not just a confidence-builder; it has solidified the team’s playoff position at precisely the right time.
Is Carmelo Anthony going to be healthy for the start of the playoffs? His shot, and lift, seemed to sag in last night’s second half, and the procedure to drain his knee might need to be repeated before the playoffs. Still, Anthony is, to a remarkable extent, the given. So is, and I know this feels strange to read, J.R. Smith.
But, quick: name the other four starters around him when Round One begins. Will it be Tyson Chandler, who sounds like he’s getting worse, not better? Kenyon Martin, the current mainstay, but with all of seven starts under his built? Will Rasheed Wallace be back? Kurt Thomas? Amar’e Stoudemire? No one knows.
Will Iman Shumpert continue at the three? His struggles have been well-documented. Is Pablo Prigioni now the starting shooting guard? Will Raymond Felton be the star of November, the albatross of February, or the better shooter he’s been in March, even as his assist rate has dropped and his turnover rate has risen? Will Jason Kidd shoot 47 percent from three, as he has in his last six games, 23 percent, as he did in his 28 games before that, or 44 percent, as he did in his first 30 games?
The Knicks themselves, within the past month, have played the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder to tight games into the final minute, gotten crushed by the Portland Trail Blazers and scored 63 against the Golden State Warriors, and easily beaten the Boston Celtics on the road.
Would a trip to the Eastern Conference finals surprise you? Would a first round playoff loss?
It is always fascinating to be a Knicks fan, in my opinion. But I think the next few weeks are particularly so, when so much of how this era will be defined gets decided.