Season Preview – New York Knicks

» October 3, 2008 10:15 AM | By xphoenix87

Season Preview Primer

New York Knicks

Coach: Mike D’Antoni
2007-08 Record: 23-59
Pythagorean Record for 07-08: 23-59
Offensive Rating: 104.7 (23rd in the league)
Defensive Rating: 111.9 (29th)
Possessions per 48: 91.6 (15th)
Min%: 81.4 (14th)
Four Factors:

eFG%

TOV%

RB%

FT/FGA

Offensive 47.5 (27th) .134 (15th) .286 (10th) .226 (16th)
Defensive 51.8 (28th) .121 (26th) .727 (21st) .229 (15th)

Roster (Red indicates new acquisition, Blue indicates rookie)

Man, where to start with this roster. After years of managerial incompetence, there’s precious little on this roster worth mentioning.

Lets play some Mad Libs. (Jared Jeffries, Quentin Richardson, Jerome James, Malik Rose)___________ might once have been productive, but now he (is too fat, is too old, has lost a step)___________ and doesn’t do much good on the court. For the next (year, two years, three years)__________ he’ll just be sitting on the bench (cashing his humongous paycheck, …that’s pretty much it)__________.

Has anyone’s value ever dropped as precipitously in one year as Zach Randolph’s? In Portland, he was a talented, if problematic, young big man. After a disastrous year in New York, well, this is about all he’s remembered for. I’m not exactly sure what to think of Randolph. I still think he could be successful if put in the right situation. He’s a big-bodied (too big right now), long-armed post with fantastic touch and a smooth jumper. Offensively, there’s a lot to offer, though he’s an absolute sieve defensively. If he were acquired by a veteran team that could keep him out of trouble and pair him with a defensive-minded center, I think he could turn his career around. However, most teams won’t want to risk gambling on Randolph, and his large contract is prohibitive to trading.

You can win ballgames with Jamal Crawford as your third option. As a first option, he’s not much to write home about. The main problem with Crawford is that he settles for far too many jumpers. He’s certainly capable of beating his man to the rim, he’s quick for his size and has an excellent crossover. However, he tends to get past the first defender and then pull up for a long jumper. 86% of his shots last year were jumpers, far too high for a guard with the size and quickness of Crawford. If he’s ever to become an efficient scorer, he’s got to take the ball to the rim and get to the line with a whole lot more frequency. Until then, he’s not a bad option, but certainly not a star.

If you’re wondering, David Lee has been the Knicks’ best player the last two years, and it isn’t really close. He’s an absolutely incredible rebounder, and he almost never misses around the rim. He can hit shots with either hand, and he finishes lobs and follow-shots as well as anyone. Is he a go-to scorer? No, but he’s one of the best role-players in the league, able to be help his team without the ball in his hands. He’s also one of the few Knicks to actually give an effort on defense.

I don’t know what to think about Danilo Gallinari, I haven’t seen him in action enough yet. I can tell you this though, he’s in for a rough year. He has a versatile skill set, but his range isn’t consistently NBA three yet, and he’ll need to add strength to be successful. Time will tell if he’s more Bostjan Nachbar or Manu Ginobili.

X-Factor: Eddy Curry – There are few players in the league who could be considered a bigger waste of talent than Eddy Curry. His natural talent for scoring in the post is matched by very few. Despite being embarrassingly overweight, slow, unathletic and giving very little effort, he can score the ball fairly efficiently when he catches it in the post. However, every other facet of his game is ridiculously underdeveloped. He can’t pass out of double teams, he gives no effort rebounding (his 10.2 rebound rate is absolutely pathetic for a big man), and to say his defensive is sieve-like would be an insult to sieves everywhere. The talent is there for Curry to become an excellent player, but to this point the heart hasn’t been. I wonder if we’ll ever see much improvement out of him, or if he’s just content to cash paychecks now.

Overview

The Isiah Thomas era will go down in history as perhaps the greatest debacle in NBA management history, and last year was a microcosm of that. The Brown-Sanders trial, the acquisition of Zach Randolph, the sideshow that is Stephon Marbury, the 45-point loss to the Celtics, the 40-point loss to the Sixers…do I need to keep going? They had the highest payroll in the league and, all things considered, might have been the worst team in the league. They were a highly dysfunctional locker room. They’re loaded up with bloated contracts that won’t come off the books for another year or two. I’m not even going to go into strengths and weaknesses, because that would imply that the Knicks did something positive last year. Maybe I should stop now and start talking New Yorkers off the ledge.

Prediction

The good news, Knicks fans, is that a new leaf is being turned. It will not be fast, and it probably won’t be pretty for the next few years, but Isiah is gone and the franchise is in better hands (because, lets be honest, they’ve been in the worst hands on earth for a while now, anyone would be an improvement). Of specific interest to watch for this year is how Curry and Randolph respond to Mike D’Antoni’s system. If he can get them running the floor and believing in conditioning, the turn-around could be that much faster. If not, there’s probably only 2-3 players on this roster worth keeping past the next two years. Oh yeah, and speaking of those next two years, there’s a free agent class in that second offseason that I’ve heard is pretty good. Some LeBron guy, you may have heard of him. If New York can land one of the coveted James-Wade-Bosh-Anthony free agents two years from now, things change significantly. For this year, it’s all about the future. There are no illusions about competing here, this team is going to be developing young talent and trying to dispose of the dead-weight contracts they have so many of.

15th in the East – Let’s Not Mince Words, These Guys Suck


7 Responses to “Season Preview – New York Knicks”

  1. A-Train Says:

    (Careful not to delete) :)

    Great write-up, Hoff. The only thing I disagree with is that the Knicks will be worse than the Nets–The Nets are going to be terrible (how many losses into the season before Vince quits?). Yi is absolute garbage, Harris is talented but not a difference-maker, their big man situation is easily the worst in the whole league, etc.–just a bad team that’s obviously waiting for the move to Brooklyn.

    The Knicks are awful too, but, unlike the Nets, have more flexibility to make a trade that COULD make a difference in the win-loss column. What if the Knicks dealt Randolph and pieces for a legit difference-maker of a player? It could happen (I expect a fire sale in Denver this year). Forget talent; with the right personnel and system any mediocre team can win in the modern NBA. I expect Walsh to be active in trying to get D’Antoni the right people (Duhon was a good start).

    Crawford would be 6th Man of the Year material on just about every team in the league. He’s a decent player, but as you pointed out, not a #1, or even a #2 option. As for your comment about him going to the hole more, well, you have to remember he’s pencil-thin; it’s not like he can take the contact. He is what he is, an opportunistic scorer with a shaky jumper (balls of steel in the clutch though).

    As for Lee, I’m not crazy about him. I think he has a very low ceiling; what you get from him now is what you’ll always get from him. I do like his energy and enthusiasm but that can only take you so far. Knicks fans are crazy about him because (a) he plays hard, and (b) he’s white (The Knicks haven’t had a white player worth getting excited about in a very, very, very, very long time). But truth be told, he’s nothing special. And you have to remember that the success he’s had has been in a “afterthought” type of role. Teams didn’t come to play the Knicks with David Lee’s name written on the chalkboard. If and when Lee starts taking that next step, teams are going to start targeting him. And let’s be honest, what power forward or center is Lee going to slow down? Brand, Bosh, Granger, O’Neal, Rasheed, etc. At best, we’re talking about Lee being, what, the 25th best big man in the East?

    I think the Eddy Curry ship has sailed. He’s done. He’s fat, out of shape, stupid, uncommitted to giving his all, etc. I think the X-Factor is going to be Wilson Chandler. If he can make any kind of impact, it would huge.

  2. xphoenix87 Says:

    “Great write-up, Hoff.”

    I’m insulted Train. Didn’t you recognize the format from when I did this last year?

    I understand Crawford isn’t going to bully anyone around out there, but there’s no reason why a guy with his combination of size and quickness should be taking nearly 90% of his shots from outside the paint. He has to become more comfortable taking the ball to the rack.

    Like I said, Lee isn’t ever going to be your leading scorer. He’s not ever going to be an all-star. But, he’s a heck of a role player, and you need guys like that to win. He makes a tremendous impact on the boards, and you never have to run a play for him, he’s going to find points on garbage baskets. If I were going to trade for anybody on the Kicks, Lee and maybe Crawford are the only players I’d want.

    I’m with you on Curry, but honestly this team is going absolutely nowhere. How much of an X-Factor can there be? I picked Curry because if some how, some way the light ever came on, he has tons of talent.

  3. A-Train Says:

    LMAO… Sorry Phoenix, it’s been a long time since I’ve last been around. The funny thing is when I read it I thought, “hmm, this does seem a little different from Hoff’s usual writing.” I never put two and two together. Anyhow, great work.

    I agree with you on everything, man. We’re in agreement that we’re looking at the same piece of crap. LOL.

    Wilson Chandler, man. He looked like a baller in the summer league. He’s big, can run, but most importantly, doesn’t seem to care who he’s up against. I think this kid would take it right at LeBron without even flinching. That kind of mentality is EXACTLY what this team needs (think Trevor Ariza with more bulk and a better jumper). Jeffries is hurt, Curry is reportedly totally out of shape… Chandler might play some four and just run.

    Good write up… look forward to reading the rest.

  4. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    “I’m insulted.”

    “This does seem a little different from Hoff’s usual writing.”

    What’s that supposed to mean?

    Lol. I’m just playin’.

    Good to see you Train.

    X is doing a phenomenal job with his previews.

    And his format, surprisingly enough, is identical to the previews he wrote last season:

    http://community.foxsports.com/blogs/xphoenix87/2007/11/11/NBA_Season_Preview_New_York_Knicks

  5. A-Train Says:

    LOL. When you guys coming out to NYC?

  6. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Train,

    I’d love to come out to NYC.

    How long has it been since New York hosted the All-Star game?

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