A Few Questions to Ponder About the Knicks

With eight games to play, a chance to reorganize your thoughts

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Apr 13, 2012  |  Updated 2:14 PM EDT
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A Few Questions to Ponder About the Knicks

AP

Not included in the questions is figuring out what's going on in this picture.

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The Knicks get back to work on Friday night against the Wizards and then welcome the Heat on Sunday afternoon to draw ever closer to the end of this regular season roller coaster ride.

It's not a bad time to take stock of where the Knicks are at present, although it comes with the caveat that every snapshot of the team this season has had the permanance of an Etch-a-Sketch. We'll do it Q&A style to give you some things to ponder while lolling under the sun this weekend.

So, the Knicks are pretty well set after winning in Milwaukee, right? It's a two-game lead with a good chance of getting the tiebreaker, but let's not start counting chickens before they hatch with this Knicks team. The schedule is pretty well split 50/50 between bottom feeders and strong playoff teams so one bad loss could wind up making everyone tighten up again.

Can Carmelo Anthony keep scoring 30 a night? Right now, there's absolutely no reason to think that Anthony's scoring jag is coming to an end. If his recent spree were just about hot shooting from the outside, you could be more skeptical, but Anthony's constant motion toward the hoop are really what's driving things and he's going to keep doing that when given the opportunity.

If you want to worry about something, worry about what happens when Amar'e Stoudemire returns and Anthony stops seeing a steady diet of power forwards who can't keep up with him. That's helped his offensive output tremendously as has the spacing without Stoudemire on the court.

Is Tyson Chandler the Defensive Player of the Year? Given the way Chandler completely transformed a team that wouldn't be able to stop a 4th grader from dropping 30 on their heads, that award might not be a big enough honor. Seriously, though, it's not every year that a player completely revamps a team's identity because of the way he approaches the defensive end of the floor and that deserves a healthy dose of recognition.

Should Mike Woodson return next year? Let's let things play out to their conclusion, but it's not like there are a ton of better candidates out there. Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan are worth a look, but Woodson's a far better choice than making some kind of play for John Calipari.

Can the Knicks survive without a point guard? With all due respect to Baron Davis, the way the Knicks are trying to win games on offense right now is kind a like a NASCAR pit crew trying to win races without having a driver. You put a brick on the gas, point the car somewhere in the general direction of the finish line and hope it all works out for the best.

The good thing is that between Anthony, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, the team has enough guys who can get the ball into the frontcourt and run some semblance of an offense. But good defensive teams -- like the Heat and Celtics who are right around the schedule corner -- are going to make it very difficult for the Knicks to score the way they did in Milwaukee.

Will J.R. Smith be a reliable scoring option the rest of the way? He will be a scoring option, but you should know by now that reliable is not a word in his dictionary. The rules are different for J.R., but there's definitely a place for him on this Knicks team.

Are the Knicks doomed to lose to the Wizards? Over the last two seasons, the Knicks are 9-19 on Friday nights and that's their worst record on any night of the week by a long shot. The Wiz are exactly the kind of team these Knicks should polish off without much sweat, but Friday night games are not to be taken lightly.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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