Jeff Clark of Celtics Blog has mobilized the NBA blogosphere to post previews of every NBA team out there. Today is Knicks day. Here is my contribution. Here's a better one at Straight Bangin'. Enjoy.
Team Name: New York Knickerbockers
Last Year's Record: 33-49
Key Losses: Channing Frye
Key Additions: Zach Randolph, Wilson Chandler, Demetris Nichols, Fred Jones, Jared Jordan, and the space vacated by Steve Francis
1.What significant moves were made during the offseason?
The addition of Zach Randolph was clearly the most meaningful move. The team's success hinges on his meshing with Eddy Curry. I'm also interested to see which of the rookies- Wilson Chandler, Randolph Morris, Demetris "Hot" Nichols, and now Jared Jordan- will stay with the team and get some tick. They're all promising players but the backcourt's pretty congested. Not to be forgotten, either, is the miraculous disposal of the ever-venomous Steve Francis.
2. What are the team's biggest strengths?
Strength: The Knicks' biggest strength is just that. Offensively, the roster's best tool is sheer size and power. The EZ Money tandem up front is guaranteed to trample some of those willowy 6'9'' sticks that other teams call big men. Stephon Marbury and Nate Robinson both use sheer strength to get into the paint and either score or create for others.
Rebounding: The addition of Randolph- especially if you consider the upgrade over Channing Frye- only bolsters what was already the fifth-best rebounding roster in the league. Randolph, David Lee, Quentin Richardson and Renaldo Balkman all make up for Curry's Rebound Attention Deficit Disorder (RADD).
Adversity:(Hopefully). The Knicks have been in the news for all the wrong reasons this summer. Here's hoping that that adversity translates into a potent "us vs. them" mentality. We're really going to get a sense this season of how loyal the guys are to this offseason's most prominent dartboards- Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury.
Depth For better or worse, this roster is heaving with talent at every position. This will unfortunately mean truncated minutes for fan favorites like David Lee and Mardy Collins, but it'll provide a safety net for the inevitable injury plague.
3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?
Interior defense: Marbury, Richardson, and even Jamal Crawford showed last season that, at times, they could completely lock down star guards. Unfortunately, while they busted their asses keeping up with the likes of LeBron James or Ray Allen, Eddy Curry dozed peacefully under the rim. The addition of Zach Randolph does not at all improve this deficit. Rangy big men like Nowitzki, Garnett, and Okur are going to be the most problematic for the defensively incompetent EZ Money frontcourt.
Leadership: For the time being, it's unclear who "the man" is on this team. Either Marbury, Curry, or Randolph has to overcome a tragic flaw to lift this team out of mediocrity. The team is also managed by Isiah Thomas and owned by James Dolan.
Adversity: This also has the potential to backfire. With such bad media already as the season approaches, don't expect the Knicks to get much sympathy if they get into a hole early in the season. Everybody hates us, and it's hard to blame them right now.
4. What are the goals for this team?
Shut everyone up. Isiah's gotta prove that he's still in touch. Stephon's gotta prove he's the good kind of crazy. Nate's gotta prove he's got sense. Curry and Randolph have to prove that they can share and dominate. A New York team will never fly under the radar, but silencing the critics is the underlying goal of the 07-08 campaign.
5. Who's going to start?
Steph, Eddy, and Z-Bo are sure things. The other two spots are up for grabs. A lot of people expect David Lee to start at the small forward, to but I'd like to see Q-Rich at the 3 and Crawford at the 2 until Lee proves that he's got a little more quickness and range than he did last year. Expect to see Q slide down to the shooting guard and Crawford become the sixth man if Lee does break the starting five. I'm praying for Isiah to pick a lineup and stick with it this year (with injuries obviously being a mitigating factor). We don't need another round of the Jerome James Experiment any time soon.
Predicted Record: 41-41. Respectable, but probably short of a playoff berth. It's gonna be an interesting season.