It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks for the Knicks, who have been swept in the first round of the playoffs three times in the last four seasons.
This season has been particularly tumultuous, with Anthony Davis, Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony all playing with major injuries.
New York is looking for answers to two big questions heading into the All-Star break.
First, is Carmelo back?
Davis and Porzingus both missed significant stretches of time last year and Davis has struggled to find consistency in his shot this season.
And it’s unclear if Porzingi will be able to keep up his torrid shooting form.
Second, is it time to give Kristaps the ball back?
After playing through knee and ankle injuries, Porzingos shot 42.6 percent from the field in his last four games.
The Knicks were 0-9 against the Spurs in the regular season, and this year has been much different.
New Orleans is one of the league’s top teams, and it’s clear they are better than they were a year ago, but the Knicks need a major boost.
What does New York need?
The Knicks have one of their best point guards in Davis, who has been on a tear this season with the Pelicans.
They also have the league-leading Anthony Davis.
If Porzingo can continue to show he can be a consistent offensive threat, they can challenge the Spurs for a top-five seed in the West.
But with Davis and Anthony both out, New York needs to find another point guard to take some pressure off Porzingas game.
That would likely require an upgrade in the frontcourt, as New York has struggled in recent weeks.
New Yorkers biggest weakness is the defense.
They have allowed at least 103 points in four of their last five games and have allowed 100 or more points just once in their last four.
They’re also a poor 3-point shooting team, allowing a league-worst 46.7 percent.
They might be better off bringing back some of the players they let go this offseason, like the free-agent additions of Kelly Oubre Jr. and Willie Cauley-Stein.
They need to find a way to get more help from outside shooting to help the Knicks offense.
What are the Spurs chances?
The Spurs are still looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.
They’ve been one of this year’s most intriguing teams, thanks to Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, but injuries and inconsistency have been a big concern.
They could be on the outside looking in this season, but if the Spurs can make the NBA Finals, they could be a playoff team.
They’ll need to be better defensively to do that.
New England’s big problem is the fact that they have to play against a team that has lost its starting point guard.
The Celtics have been one the league top offenses in the paint over the last two years, and they’ll likely try to exploit the weakness the Spurs have in their frontcourt.
However, they have been outscored by 19.7 points per 100 possessions on the road this season after holding opponents to 30.3.
Boston’s big challenge will be to limit New York’s offensive success.
They should get some help from Kawhi’s absence, and maybe Kevin Garnett and Danny Ainge can take a breather.
But the Celtics have to find ways to score without him, and their defense will have to improve if they want to take any lead over the Spurs.
What can the Knicks do?
The New York offense is the one thing the Knicks have consistently excelled at, and now it has to find that balance again.
They can’t have everyone on the floor at once.
The problem is, that’s just not what they’ve been doing in recent seasons.
When the Knicks go into the playoffs, they’re going to have to keep that balance.
If they want a chance, they need to make some big shots down the stretch.
That means playing a game-plan, which includes limiting turnovers, playing faster and playing smaller lineups.
The team will have a lot to prove this season against the top teams in the league.
New Yorker’s are also going to be looking for a bounce back performance from their front court, which has been lacking this season due to injuries.
The defense will need to improve in the playoffs.
But there is no question New York should have a strong playoff run.
If that happens, they will be a top seed in one of these conferences.
The New Yorkers will be looking to bounce back after a losing season that ended with them in the lottery.
They were also the only team in the Eastern Conference that finished the season with a losing record.
The NBA’s reigning champs will look to take a step forward with the Knicks in the postseason.
It’s hard to believe they’ve had such a rough year, but it could happen again.