The Knicks finished eight games below .500 last season, but in the Eastern Conference, that only meant missing the playoffs by a single game in the standings.
A combination of injuries, coaching and personnel issues contributed to the dismal campaign, just one year removed from a successful season where New York made the playoffs, and advanced to the second round for the first time in 13 years.
The team has undergone a relative overhaul this offseason, adding Phil Jackson to the front office and installing Derek Fisher as the new head coach. There have also been some changes to the roster, and the combination of all of that has Carmelo Anthony feeling confident about the Knicks making an immediate return to the postseason.
In fact, Anthony on Monday asserted his belief the Knicks “absolutely” will be back in the playoffs after missing out last season.
“Yeah, I think so for sure. Absolutely,” an impressively slimmed-down Anthony said of the Knicks’ playoff chances before entering a Midtown gym for a late morning-to-early afternoon workout with a group of NBA players. …
“I can’t wait to get started,” said Anthony, who missed the playoffs for the first time in his career when the Knicks stumbled to a 37-45 record last season. “No goals. Not setting any goals, but I just can’t wait to get it back on.”
That “Midtown gym” is more than likely Jordan Brand’s Terminal 23 space, where Anthony and other NBA players have been seen working out on a regular basis this summer.
The Knicks didn’t add any key free agents to where the expected level of improvement would be obvious, although Jose Calderon (who came over in the trade that sent Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks) is a significant upgrade at the point guard position, which was brutal for the majority of last season.
Anthony has been doing everything he can personally to prepare for the upcoming campaign, and once you get past Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, Toronto, Washington and maybe Brooklyn, nothing is guaranteed in terms of the playoffs.
He may not expect to win a championship in the upcoming season, but the playoffs certainly seem to be within reach.