Season Preview #1 - New York Knicks (Reke_DMC)
Prediction- Record: 38-41 (9th place in the Eastern Conference)
Overview: Finishing tied for 9th worst team record in the league, many speculations were in the air about if top free-agents would soon be headed to New York. Though Stoudamire and Felton may seem like a disapointment due to the ambitious expectations, Walsh may have brought something as important than a top 5 player in the league: team unity. One of the great stories over the offseasons was how HS friends, Felton and Stoudamire became teamates as Knicks. With the team chemistry in New York questionable the past few seasons, one hopes these two co-captains can help turn the atmosphere around.
Last year, the Knicks offense was hindered by the fact of having no solid and experienced PG as a starter. Without Chris Duhon, defences are actually going to have a decent scoring threat in Raymond Felton at the PG to open up some looks for Gallinari, Chandler, Mason Jr., etc. Gallinari is one of the best three point shooters in the league, but because of not having a good enough PG last year, he did not get enough looks as he should have gotten. I believe the key to this teams success is how well the bench players do this season. Walsh really tried to bring in versatile players and deep-scoring threats this offseason in Randolph, Azuikebe, Mason Jr, Fields, Rautins and Mozgov. A bonus to these new additions is that all of them are level-headed guys, except for an expressive Anthony Randolph. If Randolph finally has the breakout season the NBA has been waiting for the last two seasons, it will definitely put less stress on Amare to be in the game and to be always contributing on the offensive end. Also, if Azuikebe and Mason Jr. can bounce back from their injury-ridden 2009 seasons and show their effectiveness again in the 2010 season, the Knicks will have even more of a chance to make the playoffs.
Finishing last in defense last year, Walsh wanted to make this one of his major goals over the offseason. The one atribute that the New York Knicks has on many NBA teams is their players' work ethics (beside curry). The main reason Walsh brought in Amare and Felton specifically were because they are known to be hard workers. This hard work definitely effects and pays off on the defensive end because of the players grittiness. Having shown elite defense capabalities, potential 6th man, Toney Douglas, has a chance to share big minutes with Felton. Also considered Defensive specialists are Ronny Turiaf and Anthony Randolph(versatile offensive game mixed in). Ronny Turiaf has been one of the leaders in shotblocking during his seasons in the NBA when he was not sidelined by injuries. Having a great chance to start with the New York Knicks this year, Turiaf may once again be able to play big minutes as a shotblocking threat in the low post. Young Anthony Randolph, traded by the GS warriors also has great potential on the defensive end, averaging 1.5 blocks per game last year in limited action due to an ankle injury. If he can get past being to agressive on both ends of the floor and slows down a little bit, he may be able to blossom in the Knicks' up-tempo style. Even though the Knicks will probably still end up in the lower half of the league in defense, they are definitely on the right track to improve.
right off the bat, 41-38???
edit-you changed it to 38-41 now, but i was just pointing out that they play 82 games. You are missing 3 games. Not trying to bust your balls.
Still no Bill Walker mention..
Not too happy about that. :(
My prediction's for each team are going to be rough estimates and I may be very wrong on some, but I really think that they have the potential and talent to have a 39-41 record this upcoming year. I may be having too much confidence in Di'Antoni, but by the way the last two years have gone and being the great coach he is, I think they can have a 10 game improvement.
@Morrison, i totally slept on Walker. He is actually one of the players I believe can act as a sparkplug off the bench and may have an impact this year IF getting the minutes. When playing as the starting role last year during certain games, he was able to put up 20+ points. However, with Mason Jr., Gallinari, and Azuikebe, I believe he is going to have a rough time trying to get minutes.
The thing is, if Walker is the player Knicks fans want him to be, he will earn his minutes by the end of the year. If he's regained his athleticism as rumors say, he will have a legitimate chance with the improved jumpshot he showed last year. This team has the looks of a .500 team, with as much as a ten game swing in either direction depending on how things work out. This is a completely new team, so I'm very interested in how they mesh. The Knicks open their preseason against AJ Milano today. If Gallo doesn't drop 25, I think he and I will be disappointed.