Well,we're 1-2. Maybe the start some of you predicted, but definitely not the one we were hoping for. We have Orlando coming up and Dwight Howard's shadow is looming, which is even worse news. Take the jump for some early thoughts about our rebuilt Knicks.
1) Maybe Gallo struggling is a blessing in disguise:
Here's how I see it-Gallo has been absolutely terrible after the preseason opener in Milan. His shot, which is pretty much the main component of his game, isn't falling. It's not really the bad shot selection that is a cause for concern (it is bad, but it's something mental that can be fixed), but rather the fact that he's missing wide open looks. He has had some unlucky bounces of the rim but for the most part, Gallo is struggling. Mightily. The ball does seem to be rolling off his palm a bit more than my JV coach would reccomend and he seems uncomfortable putting the ball up.
But can this be a blessing in disguise? Danillo seems to be driving to the rim more and trying to compromise for his lack of precision beyond the arc. It is awkward and as we know, Gallo isn't exactly the speediest or best ball handler in the NBA, but this could be a good learning experience for him. First of all, once he does get over the slump (which he eventually will), he'll be mentally tougher and be able to believe in himself that much more. Plus, he'll also have much more experience driving to the rim, which could become a deadly combination once the shot starts falling.
His wrist is probably injured people. The way I see it, D'Antoni's leaving Gallo out of games because of his wrist, not lack of faith in his technique/mental toughness/ability. A total layoff from basketball would mean a long time before he becomes accustomed to his teammates and the overall tempo of the game again, so I think they're trying to balance rehabilitating the wrist and giving Gallo some more exposure. People forget that this is basically his sophomore season.
2) Amar'e is trying too hard
Shooting 3's? Trying to pull a double crossover against Marcus Camby? Seriously Amar'e? I know the burden of being the face of a rebuilding franchise might come with responsibilities that you try to fulfill, but leave the 3pt shooting to Chandler, Bully, Gallo (when he starts shooting well again), Felton...anybody. You are a physical force of nature, and are virtually impossible to guard when it comes to 1on1 situations near the rim. But you're unstoppable because of your physical prowess, NOT your ball-handling.
Also, what's up with Felton/Douglas giving Amar'e the ball near the FT line? Can we please stop that?
3) We could easily be 3-0
Now, I know, we can easily be 0-3 if Toronto sunk that 3 late in the 4th Q. But we've gone up against Boston and Portland, teams that will definitely be in the top 4 of their respective conferences. Had our shooting percentage from:
a)Beyond the arc
b)From the free-throw line
been as expected, this team would be looking at a perfect record. I trust D'Antoni and the coaching staff to work on FT's and overall shooting, since it's so important in the D'Antoni system.
We might be 1-2 with 2 tough games against Orlando and Chicago ahead, but seeing the way we played against the Trailblazers and Celtics gives me a lot of faith in the Knicks.
So, in conclusion, I say the Knicks are probably one Melo-like player away from competing for a championship. Melo would compliment Amar'e perfectly, and if Randolph or Gallinari (the one we don't trade) decide to play to their potential, we have a lethal combination. Felton is playing extremely well (did anybody catch that reverse lay-up last night? Damn!), Chandler is playing like the player we hoped he'd become, and Landry and Douglas are also key pieces. Now let's get Orlando, guys.