After 60+ years of being a NY Knicks fan,the upcoming season is going to be one of the most fascinating in a very long time.
Jackson is going to bring a professionalism to the front office, not seen in who can remember, and is working even beyond original fandom expectations to build a winner...fast !
Fisher is going to be a great coach and his use of the triangle "system" and aggressive "play through" screens and "double away" defense will be both fun to watch and refreshingly effective.
Additions:The original addition by subtraction is a win for the Knicks. Chandler had deviated from his defensive effectiveness to the point where he was becoming a liability and it appeared he lost interest.There's no need to comment on Ray-Ray's effectiveness.Calderon's effectiveness within the triangle concept has been duly noted, however, he will be a liability against the John Wall's and may have to be substituted in late game situations for a quicker PG. Dalembert should be a solid rim protector but as I'll outline a bit later, may be a backup, which is good. Ellington may not make the final roster. Shane Larkin is a kid you can root for, but sadly, I can't see being a factor in the NBA. If the Knicks tried a "2nd" unit built in a fast-break style, with Larkin and perhaps, Shump, JR and TJH, maybe, but I doubt Jackson and Fisher are thinking this way and I don't think it would add enough. Larkin is neither quick enough nor big enough to defend the better PG's, Wall, Westbrook, etc. and in the triangle, doesn't shoot well enough. Wouldn't be surprised if Phil attempts to package him in a trade.
Draft +: Early is going to be fun to watch, has a nice 3-point shot, but needs to bulk-up, which may or may not be possible.He's too frail to cover NBA sized 3' and 4's, as we've seen in his early, no pun intended, Vegas showings.He might be an interesting 2, but currently that spot is stocked, perhaps excessively, at the present time. The "Not Yet" Greek Freak is the classic example of a "kid" who was not coached coming up, reminiscent of the AAU flashes who proliferate HS and College rosters as 4 or 5 star prospects and then flame-out. He could use at least 2 years overseas, but must be put on a team with a highly successful coach and sadly, David Blatt in now in the NBA.
The "Triangle" and the offense. "Newest" Knick, Carmelo Anthony is going to love the triangle and will actually be a more proficient and efficient scorer. The foremost efficiency of the system is that it spaces the floor and will make doubling 'Melo both more difficult and less effective. I also think Fisher will use 'Melo in the mid-post, with his back to the basket where he will be nearly impossible to guard, too quick for 4's and too big for 3's. Aldrich is going to be a major plus in this system. His bulk makes entry passes effective and the triangle operates from effective "post" passing, even if the "post" is on the wings.His vision is above average and his little hook-shot from the left block will be solid and he's even shown a baby left- hander, which will keep D's honest. As the season moves on, he might replace Sam, as the starting 5. Calderon and Prigs will see many more open 3's as will TJH. The current season may revolve around, haven't we heard this before, the effectiveness of Shump. He will have open 3's but better yet, will be wide open consistently on cutting to the rim. This system will either make or him or break him, once and for all. JR Smith is going to struggle severely in this system and I wouldn't be surprised if Phil doesn't attempt to package him, even before training camp. Shannon Brown is going to be the 3rd string PG, late game defender based both on his size, quickness, and knowledge of the triangle. If Bargnani has anything left, this is the system for him. If his shooting woes aren't due to a physical issue, he'll be wide open here and he might even shift inside to give the Knicks an offensive post presence. Would enjoy seeing STAT stay and make a major contribution but except for 12-15 foot jumpers, don't think he fits here, ergo, Phil's interest in moving him early. The current potential roster should be fine offensively, although 'Melo is going to need a "go-to" type if the Knicks are to challenge deep into the playoffs, down the road. One other beauty of the triangle is the fact that no one else will be playing it throughout the season and the constant 'surprise" factor will work in the Knicks favor. The triangle employs a pass and "go away" system as opposed to the "pick and roll" which is a pass and go to system which will give conventional defenses, see TT and the Bulls, a bit more trouble during the regular season.
Defense. Early Vegas League appears to indicate the Knicks will be very aggressive defensively playing through screens, thank goodness, and doubling the ball in weak spots, the 3 players off the ball will play a defensive triangle, so expect an occasional poster dunk against the K's and more defensive 3 seconds, small prices to pay for heightened defense. Dalembert should help inside and Cole's "off the ball" D, will result in more blocks and be refreshing. The Knicks could use an Oakleyesque 4, who couldn't, and I don't think Tyler is a sticker, though I think he will get a solid chance both in the remainder of the Vegas League and camp, but he's not the answer. Kenyon Martin, who appears wants to come back, but may not be a Fisher-type could help, but a better offensive threat with his attitude would be better.
D-League- The Knicks have a few interesting developmental prospects. Thanasis will only be served with extensive coaching and if the K's put a 'triangle" guy in Westchester, that's an option, but more likely be should go overseas. Henrique and Vandenberg need work but might help down the road and Larkin needs to improve this shot. Sheehey is a nice player who might be useful and worth keeping,but none of the rest of the Vegas League contingent appear keepers.
The East- The East will be much stronger this season and with Gasol the Bulls, darn it, appear to be the favs. Rose is of course, the big mystery and their defensive prowess will be reduced against the triangle but they are now, the much better team. Washington, even after losing Ariza will be very solid and could win the East. Indiana has a Stephenson question and I don't think Bird is sold on him north of $44 mil. The Cavs of course, will be great to watch but not ready to win. Charlotte has improved but the K's should be better and with Brooklyn's health issues they may be significantly worse than last year. Toronto appears much better but the K's will give them a run for the division title.
Would love to see Phil move STAT, who I really like and JR, who I don't think fits for a solid 4, though sadly, no one comes to mind.
A fascinating season awaits...buckle up and enjoy the ride.