Eleven games into the season is no time to overreact. But don’t tell that to New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith.
“We’re frustrated,” Smith said of where the Knicks are mentally after losing to the Indiana Pacers, he told ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “Like you say, it’s too early to panic, but me personally, I’m panicking. I don’t like this.”
It’s rare when a professional athlete allows that kind of honesty to shine through him, but Smith is being brutally honest. Perhaps a little too honest. The last thing you want is your opponent to know that you’re on the ropes, ready to fall. That’s what, in a way, Smith is saying with that quote.
And at 3-8, I don’t blame him.
These Knicks have lost six straight at home, and five of their last six overall. New York is 22nd in the league in offensive efficiency and 26th in defensive efficiency. The stats re-enforce what their record says — that they’re bad.
Last night it appeared that they were going to pick-up a much needed, statement win over the Indiana Pacers. But once again, like they’ve done so often this season, they fell off at the end and lost.
But the fact that they’re losing isn’t what’s alarming, though. It’s who they’re losing to that is more concerning. So far this season, they have losses to a struggling Bulls team, the Hawks, Pistons, Timberwolves and Bobcats.
“We lost to teams we have no business losing to,” Smith told ESPN.
The only good thing about the Knicks’ season so far is that they’re in a very bad Atlantic Division. The Raptors lead that division and are only 5-7. As bad as New York has been this season, they are only 1.5 games away from leading the division. Put together a two-game winning streak and you’re leading it.
There’s still plenty of time for the Knicks to turn the season around, but, to me, it feels like they’re missing something. If that happens to be an injured Tyson Chandler, then great, he’ll return in a few weeks. However, that doesn’t feel like the problem. It might be something else.
And if that happens to be the case, the Knicks are in trouble.