J.R. Smith doesn’t think it’s too early to hit Knicks’ panic button

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It’s too early to hit the panic button with the Knicks. Yes, they are off to an ugly 3-8 start, but it’s too early to panic.

First, they will get Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton back healthy. Second, the offense will come around once those two are back — last season the Knicks had the Felton/Chandler pick-and-roll (surrounded by shooters) as a way to create shots other than just having Carmelo Anthony do it. Third, the defense also will improve with Chandler back.

Most of all the Knicks aren’t really losing much ground — even at 3-8 they are one game out of a playoff spot and one-and-a-half out of first place in the terrible Atlantic. A few wins and the outlook quickly changes.

J.R. Smith isn’t sold — he’s ready to panic he told ESPNNewYork.com.

“We’re frustrated,” Smith said of where the team is mentally, despite most saying it’s too early to panic. “Like you say, it’s too early to panic, but me, personally, I’m panicking. I don’t like this.

“I don’t want to play 3-8 basketball,” Smith continued, in regard to the Knicks’ record. “I don’t want to play 50-50 basketball. If we’re going to be a championship-caliber team and call ourselves that, then we’ve gotta play like that. It can’t be no other way.”

The Knicks played well enough to win against the Pacers Wednesday — that effort would have beat 25 NBA teams, just not the elite few (and the Pacers qualify right now). There are no moral victories in the NBA, but if there were Wednesday night would have been one for the Knicks.

Keep playing like that and things will start to turn around —and in the East right now it just has to turn around a little for things to look much better.