After a less than stellar 2-3 start by the New York Knicks, the coaching staff and the team's fans are left only to ponder what may be the biggest hurdles ahead.
The Knicks have struggled to score the basketball through their first five games, averaging only 93 points. Though the campaign is still young, that low number is a far cry from the much higher 106.5 points the team averaged last season.
A major reason as to why the Knicks have not been producing is because offensive juggernaut Amar'e Stoudemire has sat out the past two games with an ankle injury, and is still noted as a game-time decision for tonight's Bobcats-Knicks matchup at the Garden.
Even so, when he has hit the hardwood, Stoudemire has not been his usual self, only averaging 17.3 points on 40% shooting the field. Though he has struggled, it may not be solely the big man's fault that he has not found his offensive flow.
The team as a whole has had difficulty meshing as a cohesive unit, struggling to get the likes of Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, and of course, Stoudemire, involved in the offense. Last season, the Knicks had the benefit of Raymond Felton (and then Chauncey Billups) running the floor, effectively creating offensive opportunities for teammates, finding them in the right spots. As a result, Fields and Douglas, were transformed into highly efficiently scorers when and if their numbers were called.
In the case of Stoudemire, he thrived in Phoenix (and then in New York), mastering the pick and roll with partners such as Steve Nash and Felton serving as floor generals. With the shoot-first Douglas now the Knicks' starting point guard, not only is his own offense thrown off quite a bit, but the likes of Stoudemire are left to fend for themselves, trying to score off an array of off balance jumpers.
Even after just five games, the Knicks' main dilemma is clear: they are lacking a floor general. There is no one on the roster who can carry out Coach Mike D'Antoni's run and gun philosophies on the court, like Felton and Chris Duhon had excelled doing so in the past.
The Knicks had also struggled last season following the trade for Carmelo Anthony and company, posting a record under .500 with Billups running the show.
With all of this, plus Coach D'Antoni's dependance on a pass-first point guard, in mind, who do you think would excel the most as point guard of the New York Knicks? In an ideal situation, who would you select as the team's floor general?
Since the moment D'Antoni arrived in New York, rumors have run ramped about if and when SoHo resident (and two-time MVP) Steve Nash will don orange and blue. Though thus far having a down season, averaging nearly 11 points and 8 assists per game, would Nash still be enough to elevate the team?
There's no doubt that Felton helped Stoudemire resurrect the team early last season, playing its best basketball in nearly a decade. Were the Knicks better with him running the show? Should he still be in New York?
Maybe everyone is jumping the gun just a little bit too fast. Does Douglas need more time? Can he adjust his game? Once rookie Iman Shumpert returns, can the two work together to take pressure off one another, eventually helping the Knicks compete at the higher level many expect them to?
Should the two fail, Baron Davis is only (so close, yet so far) weeks away from his Knicks debut. Will playing the waiting game work out for New York? Is B-Diddy the missing piece to their championship puzzle?
If all three in-house options fail, perhaps the Knicks will ponder blowing up part of its core for a new leader. Could STAT or Melo be sent out of town in order to give the team a chance at signing and/or trading for current Net guard and SoHo resident Deron Williams?
Perhaps all of the above is crazy talk, and the Knicks need to go a different route. Should they have stuck things out and/or made a stronger offer for Chris Paul? A bigger splash may not be what's needed at this point. A point guard with a lesser profile may fit in nicely. A guard like Jose Calderon (who led the Raptors to a 90-85 victory over the Knicks earlier this week), averaged nearly 9 assists last season and continues to prove he knows how to run a team. All someone like him needs are scorers to pass the ball to.
What do you think? What should be the Knicks' plan of action? Who will be the answer to their point guard prayers? Take the poll below and/or tweet me on Twitter @KnicksJournal to let me know.