To finish up the Atlantic Division we have the NEW YORK KNICKS! A handful of new additions and notable departures on the Knicks. We have Mensa discussing the changing of the guard and the potential the New York Knicks have this upcoming season. If you haven’t read the previous previews click the links below.
Last Season’s NBA Record: 32-50
Notable Losses: Robin Lopez, Derek Fisher, Derrick Williams, Jose Calderon, Arron Afflalo
Notable Additions: Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, Jeff Hornacek
Another Knicks season, another new roster. Since Carmelo Anthony arrived to the Knicks in 2011, he has had more than 75 different teammates. Outside of the 2012-13 season where New York won 54 games and beat the hated Celtics in a playoff series 4-2, the Carmelo Anthony era has been a whole bunch of mediocrity (and in fairness to the man it has had little to do with him as he’s been consistently great in his time here). Melo isn’t LeBron James or prime Dwyane Wade, but he’s a good player and when given the right teammates, he can make good things happen. New York’s management, and I use that term loosely here, has been bad to say the least. However, this year looks like a year where Phil Jackson got it right. As a lifelong Knicks fan, I have to say I like how we look. Most of this season is going to come down to the performance of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Kristaps Porzingis. Carmelo Anthony will be his usual great self, but those three have big question marks. Let’s start with with Derrick Rose:
Derrick Rose: D Rose needs no introduction amongst NBA fans. Leaving his civil lawsuit aside, the youngest MVP in league history has been much of a disappointment since 2012 when he tore his ACL initially (unless you like suits). In the past two seasons, or Warriors Era Basketball as I like to call it, Derrick Rose has played in 51 and 66 games. In both seasons he battled injuries and fought to stay healthy, and in both seasons he made it to the end without a devastating injury. This year is a contract year for Derrick Rose, and his performance and health will go a long way in determining whether or not he signs a $100M contract or if he’s playing with the Guangdong Southern Tigers. I, for one, think Rose’s health in trending upwards and that Taj Gibson can’t elbow him in the face anymore. Color me optimistic, but I expect Derrick Rose to bounce back and be an All Star level player in New York.
Joakim Noah: Noah is a stud when healthy. Period. Last year, off the bench, he averaged close to 9 rebounds and 4 assists a night in only 22 minutes. If that guy has his health, the Knicks have a shot at being a good defense and they’ll get some great passing from their frontcourt. He’s also the type of passionate and loyal teammate that the Knicks haven’t seen since the Pat Riley era Knicks. Just ask Luke Cage. I think his shoulder injury from last season won’t be a reoccurring theme and he’s played over 60 in every season before last. We should see the real Joakim Noah, and we’ll see him often. That’s a good thing for Knicks fans.
Kristaps Porzingis: The Knicks’ very own wonder child has to have a big sophomore year if we want to be a contender in the Eastern Conference playoffs. After averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds, and close to 2 blocks a night as a rookie, we need KP to improve his scoring efficiency and volume, his rebounding, and his defense. Already a good defender and shooter, KP needs to round his game out in order to become the franchise player this team hasn’t had since Patrick Ewing (I love Melo but he isn’t Pat Ewing). I don’t think he’s quite ready to be that guy yet, but when you look at the jumps both Dirk Nowitzki, Rudy Gobert, and Pau Gasol took from the rookie to sophomore seasons, there is a lot to like about the Knicks’ European big man’s chances to be impactful.
THE FINAL WORD:
Jennings, Melo, Courtney Lee, and Jeff Hornacek are going to be consistently positive for the Knicks. Willy (pronounced Billy because Germany) Hernangomez, Kyle O’Quinn, and Lance Thomas will round out as the Knicks bench and all appear to to good players. What the Knicks need is for Rose, Noah, and KP to all hand in good seasons. If the Knicks get that from their guys, I don’t expect anything less than 50 wins. Realistically speaking the Knicks will win around 44 due to health and we’ll have a shot to win a playoff series so long as we’re not matched up with Cleveland in the first round.
WIN LOSS RECORD PROJECTION: 48-34