New York Knicks Five Takeaways From First Half Of Season

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Jan 4, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks injured small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) watches from the second row during a time out during the first quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

-Injuries, and Lots of Them

The injury bug hit the Knicks early and often, as they never had their projected rotation, let alone starting lineup, together for a game in the first 41 contests. Right off the bat, two expected starters, Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, were injured. Calderon missed the first 13 games of the season, while Bargnani has appeared for 22…total minutes.

They are not the only starters to miss time this season, as Carmelo Anthony has already missed 10 games, and could be a candidate to be shut down as he battles a knee injury. Amar’e Stoudemire battled through his injuries early in the season, but he was overused and has missed 12 games as a result because of knee soreness.

Cleanthony Early hasn’t been used much this season in the rotation, but he also missed a large chunk of time because of knee surgery. Iman Shumpert separated his shoulder December 12th and has yet to return. J.R. Smith also missed 10 games because of plantar fasciitis, and 12 overall.

For a team that was already in transition, having integral parts of their rotation miss such significant time was a huge blow. The injuries cannot be blamed as the singular reason for the Knicks struggles, but it has been a big factor. Having to give heavy minutes to supporting players usually in a reserve role is a recipe for disaster, as their success is usually short lived compared to what you’d normally get from the regular starters.

Next: Late Game Struggles