So we've discussed and dissected this team's potential endlessly already (what else do we have to do in the offseason?), but I figured that I would throw my 2 cents into the overflowing change bucket. I haven't really posted much here at P&T, but I'm the stereotypical graduate student who loves nothing more than to read his own writing. It is in this spirit that I present some of my expectations for our lovely Knickerbockers for the upcoming season.
Despite what the media, Donnie Walsh, and the majority of pundits believe about the 2009-2010 Knicks season, I truly believe that it is actually important. Seth has mentioned this before, so I'm simply regurgitating his comments, but this season can make or break next summer's free agency. I'm very skeptical of the sports media's collective belief that the 2010 free agents will automatically sign with New York because they want to play in New York. One argument that is always trumpted by ESPN, etc. is that players can make more money in New York. My degree is in English, not Economics or Marketing, but I'm fairly confident that guys like LeBron and Wade have no trouble making money in small- or mid-markets. These guys are global icons, regardless of whether they play in New York, Boston, Memphis, or OKC.
One argument that is almost never made by the national media is the simplest: winning. I realize that I'm only a fan and not an expert, but I tend to believe that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are going to sign with the team that gives them the best opportunity to win. These men are smart and know that their legacy will be dependent on the number of championships they win (if any). Compare our percpetions of Charles Barkley (zero championships) or Karl Malone (also zero) as players with Tim Duncan (4 championships, 3 Finals MVP's)...Yeah Duncan's probably better, but you don't think the championships have something to do with it?
As biased as we are, I think we all can agree that the 2010 Knicks are not winning it all...or probably even making the playoffs. However, there is hope for this season, namely Jordan Hill, Toney Douglas, Danilo Gallinari, and Wilson Chandler. As far as I'm concerned, these guys are our core. I love Nate and Lee to death, but my gut tells me they won't be wearing blue and orange next season. If we're going to
sucker sign a major free agent next summer, at least two of these four need to have a strong season. That is my sole expectation for this season's team. If three of them having strong showing, then I will be ectastic. I will s**t myself if all four look good. Some individual thoughts:
Jordan: I'd like to see him as a starter or 3rd big by the end of the season. He needs to run the floor well and show that he can be the ideal-D'Antoni big. Let's be realistic, we're not going to see Amare 2.0, but Jason Thompson or Carl Landry would be great.
Toney: He need to do what Toney do. Also, demonstrating that he's a solid back-up point would be nice too. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to watch him much, but do you guys think the next-Delonte West is out of reach?
Danilo: He needs to be the Messiah. That way if we whiff in the summer, we aren't completely f**ked.
Wilson: If Wilson can become a more efficient scorer while putting up the same kind of numbers as last season, then I'll be happy.
So there's my expectations for our core. Frankly, if I had to choose between these four having strong showings or making the playoffs, I'd have to choose the former. On a more sentimental note, I'd really love for Nate and Lee to look great, so that someone (probably not the Knicks) puts up the big money. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to see if my expectations come to fruition, as I'm spending the next six months in Thailand, and I'm guessing they don't have NBA coverage. I'm really relying on P&T this season, not to put any pressure on Seth or anything.