Season or not, (and, if you haven't been paying attention, we're currently in "not" mode) the NBA blog community is still doing previews of all 30 teams. Here's my best effort at appraising the not-so-forthcoming 2011-2012 Knicks season. I'll link to those at other Knicks blogs as they are posted.
Team Name: New York Knicks
Last Year's Record: 42-40
Key Free Agents: Key? I suppose Shawne Williams is "key". Shelden, too, perhaps.
Team Needs: Tall people and/or objects to defend and rebound. A 7-footer would be great, but a very long pole would do in a pinch.
1. What are your team's biggest needs this offseason?
See above. Interior defense and rebounding were the Knicks' biggest weaknesses last year. They drafted Josh Harrellson, who could help somewhat, and still have Jerome Jordan stashed overseas, but what I just typed tells me they could use a little more help on that front.
2. What are the team's biggest strengths & weaknesses? (so far)
Well, the major weaknesses have pretty much been addressed above. I'd add, though, that the Knicks are still, for the most part, an unfamiliar hodgepodge of youngsters and castoff Nuggets. Beginning with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony and continuing right on down the depth chart, there's a major need for chemistry. That, one would hope, is just a matter of time, but without a natural offseason to mesh, the Knicks could open the season (whenever that is) looking a little disjointed.
The team has major strengths, though. Their offense, one of the league's best last season, should only get crisper and more efficient with time to steep as a unit. They've got all the offensive specialists beginning with "S": shooters, scorers, slashers, spotters, shakers, streakers, setters, safecrackers, skippers, spitters, splashers and sploogers. All covered. And while the frontcourt defense is plodding, the Knicks went ahead and added Iman Shumpert to a backcourt that now looks like it could be weirdly effective on defense and on the glass. Shump, Toney Douglas, and Landry Fields have the potential to really get under folks' skin. (Anthony Carter, if he stays in New York, can literally get under opponents' skin with a hypostome-like appendage on his face).
3. If there is no season in 2011-12, how is your team set up for 2012?
Well, the important folks would still be around, save for Chauncey Billups, who'd be grumpily seeking employment after missing out on his $14 million contract year. They'd certainly have a lot of filling out to do, but the major players (one of whom is Renaldo Balkman, guys) would still be under contract.
4. If you could make one change the NBA's new CBA, what would it be?
It would have signatures on it from both sides. Really, I couldn't care less who gets which dollars, as long as everybody's on board and I can watch basketball.
5.What's going on with New York's GM search?
I'm not asking this so I can answer it. I'm really wondering. Is Glen Grunwald going to hold down his spot as president of basketball operations? Will he appoint a GM from within the organization? Will he replace himself as president? Will he clone himself, then hire his clone as GM? Will his clone, possessing an unparalleled knowledge of Grunwald's habits and weaknesses, stage a coup to take over the president's role? Will the public, without any way of telling the Grunwald and Grunwald 2 apart, have no idea what happened until the evil clone starts offering max contracts to nefarious oil barons? Did I mention that the clone is evil?
I'm not sure.