Jose Calderon is trying to keep expectations in check, apparently.
The Spanish point guard was not right last season. Coming back after a ruptured Achilles he played 42 games and his shooting suffered — he shot 41.5 percent overall, down from 45.8 the season before. This three-point shooting (where he takes a lot of shots) was still good at 41.5 percent, but was down from 45 percent the season before. He didn’t move the same way. His efficiency dipped.
This season, Calderon says he is finally healthy and himself again. More than that, he thinks the Knicks are going to be better — although he didn’t exactly set the bar very high. Calderon spoke with Marc Berman of the New York Post about all of it.
“A lot of bad things happened last year,’’ Calderon said. “We’ll win more than 17 games and we’ll try to win every game. I’m real excited we can do great things, but talking about the playoffs, it’s too early. You don’t talk playoffs a few weeks before training camp….
“I never could get 100 percent the way the season is,’’ Calderon said. “It was a very tough season for me and I couldn’t play the way I wanted to. I needed time with the Achilles. I was thinking about myself. I want to play here a few more years.’’
Undoubtedly the Knicks will be better this season, but Derek Fisher should go off on a Jim Mora “playoffs” rant the next time someone brings it up.
Last season, it took 38 wins to make the playoffs in the East. That number likely goes up this season, but for the sake of argument lets say it doesn’t — it would still take a 21-game improvement from the Knicks to make it happen. That kind of jump is very rare. When it does happen it’s for a very good reason: The Spurs got 36 games better the season they drafted Tim Duncan and David Robinson returned from injury; the Celtics got 32 games better the year they drafted Larry Bird; the Bucks got 29 games better the year they drafted Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar); the Nets got 26 games better the year they traded for peak Jason Kidd. You get the idea.
The Knicks had a nice offseason, I like it better than many other pundits, but it wasn’t great. Not 21-wins better great, even with Carmelo Anthony being healthy.
Calderon has the right idea. I feel safe saying the Knicks will win more than 17 games. I’m not going way beyond that, however.