The 2013-14 NBA season will be 10 percent complete after Wednesday, just a drop in the bucket of the long regular season. Nevertheless, the rumor mill is already revving up after a short post-preseason slumber. Manning the pull cord is the New York Knicks, whose season could hardly be off to a worse start. New York has dropped four of its first six, and faces a road test in Atlanta on Wednesday, followed by a home match with the tough Rockets on Thursday.
The Knicks rank 24th in point differential and sport efficiencies rating in the bottom third of the league on both ends of the floor. Worse, starting center Tyson Chandler's broken right fibula could keep him out for the rest of the calendar year. So far, the Knicks' defense is 17 points per 100 possessions worse on defense with Chandler out of the lineup. Seventeen. From a defensive standpoint, there is no viable alternative in the middle for New York, unless they want to gamble on an extended role for untested backup Cole Aldrich.