New York Knicks Season Preview

1 10 2008

My NBA Atlantic Division preview continues with the New York Knicks:

New York Knicks 

2007-08 Standings 23 – 59, 14th Eastern Conference 

2008-09 Predicted Record 36 – 46, 4th Atlantic Division, 10th Eastern Conference 

Projected Starting Five:  Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Quentin Richardson, Jamal Crawford, Chris Duhon 

Sixth Man:  David Lee 

David Lee is one of the few New York Knick "keepers"

The dynamic play of David Lee

Close your eyes. Think of the biggest laughing stock in the NBA. Then think of the most chaotic team in the NBA. Now think of a team that Mike D’Antoni, the mastermind of the Phoenix Suns style of 7 seconds or less basketball, would want to coach.  Open your eyes. I bet you were thinking of the New York Knicks for the first two but D’Antoni? And the Knicks? It seems shocking to me but that’s exactly what happened. 

But what does it mean? Many of the players on the Knicks roster seem incompatible with D’Antoni’s offensive style: Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury (at time of writing he is still a Knick) all are the opposite of what D’Antoni had in Phoenix.

There are players that do fit with D’Antoni’s style – Chris Duhon brings steady point guard play, Quentin Richardson thrived under D’Antoni in Phoenix, Jamal Crawford is a solid, sometimes spectacular shooting guard, David Lee seems born for a running style while rookie Danilo Gallinari has the potential to be a point forward like Boris Diaw was.

Over the next couple of years (if not months) there will be changes to this roster. Like their neighbours the New Jersey Nets, the Knicks are salivating at the chance of luring LeBron James to the Big Apple. The key in the next couple of years will be losing the dead weight, such as Curry and Randolph while making themselves attractive to King James and other quality free agents.

The road to redemption and respectability is a long one and while I think the Knicks won’t make the playoffs this year, they will reclaim some of the respect of the fans.

Coach:

Mike D’Antoni proved himself an offensive genius in Phoenix but he will have to work a bit harder in New York. For one thing he has no Steve Nash or Leandro Barbosa or Amare Stoudemire to work with, instead he has Chris Duhon and others. Probably his best bit of coaching will be playing the deadweight like Curry and Randolph enough that they can “showcase” their skills so they can get rid of them. The other imperative is getting rid of the cancer formerly known as Starbury. Stephon Marbury needs to go – buy him out already.

Bench:

On paper the Knicks have a solid bench – David Lee, Danilo Gallinari, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler are all players who can play but then on paper the Knicks with Curry and Randolph up front, look like title contenders. Perhaps D’Antoni would be best served to employ a “squad” system like Memphis used a few years ago.

Star Player:

It’s hard to pick a star from this team. Jamal Crawford seems closest to this but I’m reluctant to rate him as a star, or even as an All Star level talent. Perhaps we should call this a team of anti stars?

Team MVP:

David Lee is the most valuable Knick, he is also probably the only Knick that every other team wants. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Lee traded away in a package with one or other of the anti-stars such as Curry or Randolph.

Final Prognosis

The arrival of D’Antoni signals that the Knicks are serious about turning things around and not just quick fix solutions such as trading like a fantasy GM for other teams’ unwanted players (and contracts). But they need to clear the deadweight. The team will improve but not enough to make the playoffs.

 

You can find an index of past Previews here.

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3 responses

1 10 2008
Travis Outlaw

Do you see Allan Houston making the team? And is so what kind of role would he play for the Knicks?

1 10 2008
Rob

I think the Knicks could use his class (something they lack) and experience but I doubt he has the athleticism that is needed to play in the NBA anymore. I figure it’ll go down the way last year did where he was invited to camp but ultimately cut.

3 10 2008
Nick Papagiorgio

Forget David Lee on the bench. Make him the starting center and have Allan Houston be one of the key shooters off the bench. He’s ready for it. Just watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.

http://blogs.msg.com/gameon/2008/10/02/knicks-training-camp-allan-houstons-comeback-part-2/

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