The Knicks went 4-1 since our last Power Rankings with victories over the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets to move to 16-5 on the season.
Since we last did our New York Knicks Player Power Rankings, we've seen J.R. Smith hit a buzzer-beater, the Knicks go to Miami sans Carmelo Anthony and win going away, and Jason Kidd hitting a dagger to give the Knicks their first-ever victory in Brooklyn. Now at 16-5, the Knicks are off to their third-best start through 21 games in franchise history. The two teams in franchise history that had better starts that this one were the only two in team history to win an NBA Championship. So there's that.
1. Carmelo Anthony (Last: 1) - Although he missed two of the Knicks' five games during our ranking period, Anthony holds on to the top spot thanks to three great performances, most notably Tuesday night's dominant 45-point performance in the Knicks' 100-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Anthony was an efficient 15-of-24 from the field and made five threes. On Sunday, in his first game back after injuring his finger against the Bobcats, Anthony torched his former team - the Denver Nuggets - for 34 points. They don't give out league MVP awards in December, but if they did, you could make a really compelling case for Anthony.
2. Tyson Chandler (Last: 2) - You could go either way at No's. 2 and 3, with Chandler and Kidd. I'll keep Chandler here for now after a great four-game stretch before Tuesday's game in Brooklyn. In the four games prior to Knicks/Nets, Chandler was a rebound against Miami away from four straight double-doubles.
3. Jason Kidd (Last: 4) - Kidd hit the game-winner on Tuesday in Brooklyn, a wild, memorable three-pointer that turned the Barclays Center into Madison Square Garden East. The past two games he's really dialed it back, filling up the stat sheet like the Kidd of old by averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5 rebounds. He's logged a lot of minutes recently, so the Knicks would be wise to go back to blowing a few teams out and giving Kidd and some of their other vets some much needed rest.
[Related: Kidd amazes even his own teammates]
4. Raymond Felton (Last: 3) - Felton was the best player on the floor last Thursday when the undermanned Knicks went into Miami and took the Heat to the cleaners. Miami had no answer for Felton, who was consistently hitting jumpers over closing-out defenders. He helped lead the Knicks' 3-point barrage, knocking down six of his own. His shooting overall has dipped quite a bit, and for some reason he just doesn't seem to like playing in Brooklyn.
5. J.R. Smith (Last: 7) - While his overall shooting numbers remain low, Smith moves up three spots in our rankings. Why? It's really not how much Smith scores, it's when he does. There's no better example of this than last Wednesday's buzzer-beater against the Charlotte Bobcats. Before that shot, Smith was 5-of-15 from the field. But with Anthony out at that point due to the finger injury, Smith stepped up and made the big shot. He appeared to suffer a back injury against the Nets but gutted it out, so that bears worth watching out for.
6. Steve Novak (Last: 6) - The Knicks don't beat the Nuggets on Sunday if not for Novak. Early in the fourth, the Knicks were down by eight points, but Novak totally changed the tenor of the game with two huge 3-pointers to get the Knicks back in it. He also had 19-points and was basically unconscious for a moment against the Heat. His contributions against Miami and Denver are good examples of why his deadly shooting is a huge asset, especially in the regular season.
7. Rasheed Wallace (Last: 9) - The 14 minutes that Wallace gave the Knicks on Tuesday against the Nets is the type of performance the Knicks need to get from him. He had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and attempted just seven shots total. Despite scoring 12 points in 14 minutes against the Heat, he needed 13 shots to do so and bricked all six of his threes. 'Sheed has an important role on this team, but just can't continue to keep shooting once per every minute played.
8. Ronnie Brewer (Last: 5) - Brewer has put up a goose egg in three of the Knicks' last five games, and even though most of the offense you get from him is a bonus, it'd still be nice to get SOME offense from him every night. Brewer's penchant for taking and making the corner-3 early in the year was a big reason the Knicks got out to sizable leads early in games. Hopefully he can find that range again, since he's always consistent on the defensive end.
9. Pablo Prigioni (Last: 8) - Prigioni continued his consistent, solid bench play. He basically gives you the same game every night, which is a coach's dream. You'd actually like to see him look for his shot a little more, even though that's not his job. He's 9-of-24 from behind the arc this season, which is serviceable.
10. Kurt Thomas (Last: 11) - I'm not sure why Thomas didn't play against the Nets. The Knicks could have definitely used some help defensively in the paint, but coach Woodson didn't go to him. In 11 minutes against Miami, Thomas had four points and seven rebounds.
11. James Whites (Last: 12) - Every so often, Woodson gives White a burn in some meaningful minutes and he's acquitted himself well when he's been given the chance. Called into duty against the Heat because of Anthony's absence, White hit all three of his field goal attempts, finishing with seven points in 17 minutes. He's also shown himself to be a pretty reliable defender as well.
12. Chris Copeland (Last: 10) - With the Knicks playing mostly close games, Copeland only registered two minutes in the past five games.
13. Marcus Camby (Last: 13) - Camby remains injured. Pretty amazing that when he gets healthy the Knicks will be able to bring one of the league's best rebounders, shot blockers and interior defenders off the bench for a few minutes each night.