The NBA season is just around the corner and the Knicks are going to be a bad, bad team. However, they should be a fun and young team to watch, which is something they have not had for years. The rebuild in in full effect and Knicks fans should not be expecting much from this upcoming season.
C Enes Kanter
SG Tim Hardaway Jr.
PG Frank Ntilikina
SF Doug McDermott
PG Ramon Sessions
PG Jarrett Jack
SF Michael Beasley
SF Carmelo Anthony
PG Derrick Rose
SG Justin Holiday
SG Sasha Vujacic
Projected Depth Chart
PG: Ramon Sessions, Frank Ntilikina, Ron Baker, Jarrett Jack
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee
SF: Doug McDermott, Lance Thomas
PF: Kristaps Porzingis, Michael Beasley, Mindaugas Kuzminskas
C: Willy Hernangomez, Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah
This is the first time in a long time that the Knicks can talk about youth being a key part of their team. Porzingis, McDermott, O’Quinn, Kanter, Hernangomez, Ntilikina, Hardaway and Baker will all be 27 years old or younger to start the season. On top of that, the Knicks will be assigning some good, young player to their G-League team. That list includes: Damyean Dotson, Nigel Hayes, Jamel Artis and Xavier Rathan-Mayes. As you can see, there is a whole lot of youth in the Knicks’ organization. They are going to be a fun team to watch this year. There is going to be a lot of movement all over the floor, a lot of energy and a lot of effort as the young kids try to prove themselves. The Knicks will find who this season which players they will build around for the future.
Kristaps Porzingis is now “the guy” in New York. All eyes will be on him to be this team’s leading scorer and the go to guy in crunch time situations. However, I think this is a good thing for him. This will give him the opportunity to grow and take the next step. It will give him the chance to go from upcoming star to superstar status. He will have free reign over the offense. There is no one else to share the ball with. He is the leader of this team and as a Knicks fan, I cannot be more excited to see what he is capable of. Will he be “the piece” to build our future around? We will finally find out this season.
Making up for the losses
There is going to be a bit of a different looks to the Knicks this year. They have lost two of their top three scoring leaders from last season. Carmelo Anthony, who was the leading scorer averaging 22.4 points per game, was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder recently for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and the Bulls’ 2018 second round draft pick. Derrick Rose, who was the third leading scorer averaging 18.0 points per game, signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent this off-season. As mentioned, Kristaps is going to be relied heavily on to score. However, he was already the Knicks second leading scorer last season. He averaged 18.1 points per game, but I expect that number to go up to around 21-24 points per game. Besides that, who else is going to score? Tim Hardaway has proven he can score the ball so far in his career and I expect him to be the second leading scorer on this team. I think Hardaway will average somewhere around 17-20 points per game this year since he will be given more of an opportunity. After that? No one knows.
The Knicks were not a good defensive team last year and it does not seem like they are going to be much better on that end of the court this year either. Kristaps Porzingis is a great shot blocker, but he was not quick enough last season to defend on the perimeter. If he can increase his quickness, he can become one of the best big men defenders in all of basketball. The newly acquired Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway and Doug McDermott are not very good defenders either. Enes Kanter was sat by the Thunder in the playoffs because of his lack of defense. However, reports have it, that he has been shedding close to 30 pounds this off-season to increase his quickness so he can become a better defender. Tim Hardaway had his best defensive season last year and showed he is definitely working on improving on that end of the court. If he can continue this improvement, he has the potential to become one of the best “3 and D” guys in the game. Doug McDermott is a bad defender plain and simple. He will get torched every single night on the defensive end.
It is going to be a tough year for Knicks fans, but the future seems bright. They are not going to be very good this year. However, they have some nice pieces to build around. If Kristaps can take the next step, Hardaway and Kanter can improve their defense, and Ntilikina can translate his game over to the NBA level then they have a tremendously bright future. They will most likely have top 7 draft pick in next year’s loaded draft as well.
Record: 27-55, 13th in Eastern Conference
Photo Credits: NBA.com