Arron Afflalo has never been short on confidence, so it’s not exactly shocking that he’s declaring the Knicks to be a playoff team despite their current standing and the length left in the season. As Ian Begley of ESPN reports:
“My take is that we’re a playoff team, period. If we don’t make the playoffs this year … we belong in the playoffs,” Afflalo said late Tuesday night.
“We’re capable of much more. There comes a point in every season where you have to decide to be better or to just hover around .500. I feel like we’re better than that,” he said. “I feel like I’m a better player than what I am. Moving forward it’s time to show it.”
Begley also drops an important statistic in there: According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Knicks currently have a meager seven percent chance of making the playoffs. Granted, that’s just one metric, but it nevertheless bodes poorly for Afflalo’s statement.
Let’s not bury the Knicks just yet, though. They’re currently just one and-a-half games back of the Pacers for the eighth seed, so it’s not like they face insurmountable obstacles. Had Kristaps Porzingis experienced a typical rookie year, then the playoffs would be unthinkable. Yet the impact he’s had, combined with the elevated all-around play of Carmelo Anthony, makes the playoffs a possibility. New York’s defense is a major concern, and it’s still not quite clear if Derek Fisher is actually a good coach (though he’s made undeniable strides this year), but squeaking into the eighth seed isn’t out of the question.
Perhaps a better answer from Afflalo would be, “We’re a playoff team, maybe.”