GREENBURGH, N.Y. - It wasn't just losing game after game that made it so difficult to be a Knick last season. Carmelo Anthony said there was an aura of "bad energy" that surrounded the team that he no longer sees this season.
"Overall from day one last year, the energy was just not right," Anthony said Monday as the Knicks (2-1) prepared to play the Washington Wizards Tuesday night. "This year, you could just feel the total difference stepping into this gym, talking to guys, talking to the staff, talking to the players. Everybody has a newfound energy.
"There's no bad energy flowing through our team right now."
Nothing went right last season for the bad-energy Knicks, who lost 13 of their first 16 games. In March, Phil Jackson took over as team president and made some major moves to shake up the chemistry. The Knicks fired coach Mike Woodson at the end of the season and hired Derek Fisher. They then traded two starters, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton.
Anthony did not want to get into the specifics of the energy change. When asked directly about Chandler, he said he was not singling him out.
"I'm not talking about no players, I'm just talking about as a whole," said Anthony, who scored his 20,000th point in Sunday's win over Charlotte. "As an organization, as a whole, the energy was just different last year from day one."
Anthony still has a hard time understanding how the Knicks went from a 54-win, second-round playoff team in 2012-13 to one that missed the playoffs with a 37-45 record last season.
"You come off a somewhat successful season, making it to the second round, you would think that you would build on that," he said.
Anthony said it wasn't just the losing that made the season difficult.
"It's deeper than us going out and losing basketball games," he said. "For whatever reason, it happened. We looked at that. The organization looked at that. And they made some great changes."
It's been only three games, but the Knicks have shown resilience after being blown out by Chicago in their season opener. In the second game of the back-to-back, they beat a pumped-up Cleveland team on the road in LeBron James' first game back in a Cavaliers uniform. On Sunday, they beat a Hornets team that made the playoffs last season.
A win over the Wizards would give the Knicks a 3-1 record against four high-caliber opponents.
Said Anthony, "We want to build on what we started the last couple of games. In our home, we want to start creating a dominance on our home court [and] winning the games we know we are capable of winning, just keep building and becoming more comfortable. Tomorrow is another game we feel that we have to go out there and play our best and try to win that basketball game."