Jeff Clark from Celtics Blog is back at it, gathering season previews from team bloggers all around the league. The Knicks are up today, and you can check the schedule for all the other post dates. For more New York stuff, head over to the marvelous Bandwagon Knick.
What significant moves were made during the offseason?
This summer was one of headfakes and false starts. Donnie Walsh was going in several different directions at once, but never actually pulled the trigger on anything. In fact, the only significant moves of the offseason came on draft night, when Walsh kicked off Quentin Richardson's world tour in exchange for Darko Milicic's unfulfilled potential and expiring contract. New York also bought the rights to Toney Douglas on draft night and gave one-year deals to their two restricted free agents, David Lee and Nate Robinson.
What are the Knicks' biggest strengths?
The Knicks should thrive on their versatility. There are few pure position players on the roster, with a number of guys who can play and guard multiple positions. Expect Mike D'Antoni to use this to his advantage, as he's already brought up the notion of a 6'8''-and-over lineup (with Danilo Gallinari running the point), and experimented with a number of unorthodox lineups throughout training camp. Don't be surprised to see a unit with a 6'10'' shooting guard and a 6'8'' center at some point this season. D'Antoni's got the tools to create mismatches aplenty on offense, and adjust to mismatches on D.
Also, the fact that like half the guys on the team have expiring deals could cause a cosmic alignment of contract years that somehow catapults the Knicks into the playoffs. Stop laughing.
What are the Knicks' biggest weaknesses?
Despite small additions a concerted effort from Coach D'Antoni, this team still doesn't really intimidate defensively. The acquisitions of Darko Milicic and Toney Douglas should deter the occasional drive to the basket, but it would take a truly dramatic improvement to be considered an even average defensive team.
Additionally, the Knicks still don't have "that guy". After roster shuffling last year, New York was left without a truly reliable scorer to pick up the slack when things went badly and make it happen in crunch time. D'Antoni will rely on relatively young players to make game-winning decisions. It'll be exciting, but a real gamble every night.
What are the primary goals for the upcoming season?
A playoff berth would be a nice surprise, especially considering that New York's upcoming first-rounder is in the hands of the Utah Jazz. Beyond that, though, New York's eggs are in a different basket (or I should I say LeBasket?). A roster that has changed very little since they won 32 games last year is blessed with low expectations, so developing young talent and showcasing trade assets are reasonable goals as well.
Who is Danilo Gallinari?
After being controversially drafted 6th last season, Gallinari promptly injured his back and became something of a punchline. Well, (knock on wood) Gallo's back is healthy, and he looks ready to warrant his high selection. The kid is lights-out from downtown, with far more handles than a man his size should have and a bit of an edge as well. Danilo hustles, takes the big shots, and won't back down on defense. He impregnates nearby women with just a flick of his wrist. He flosses twice daily. He heals with his hands and turns water into Chianti. Who is Danilo Gallinari? He's the next big name in New York basketball. Thanks for asking.
Projection: 38-44. Not quite playoffs, but plenty of promise. I hope that adds up to 82.