Jeff Clark from Celtics Blog has once again mobilized the basketball blogosphere to write season previews on our favorite teams. Joey from Straight Bangin' and my very own self are the two bloggers sad enough to cover the Knicks. Here's my contribution for the Knicks.
Team Name: New York Knicks
Last Years Record: 23-59
Key Losses: Renaldo Balkman, Frederic Weis' contract
Key Additions: Chris Duhon, Anthony Roberson, Danilo Gallinari (R), Patrick Ewing Jr. (R)
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
Aside from the draft choice of Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks' biggest roster move was signing free agent Chris Duhon to fill an apparent point guard gap. The real moves were made off the court, with Mike D'Antoni and his staff taking over for Coach Isiah while Donnie Walsh took over for GM Isiah.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Depth- For better or worse, the Knicks are deep at several different positions. Coach D'Antoni should be able to toy with different lineups and patch holes when the injury bug hits.
Freshness- Much like a Subway sandwich, the Knicks are chock full of freshness (Yes, I know solicit product placement in my blog posts. Your company could be here!). With a new staff, management, and media policy, there is finally an air of change in the...air. I don't know if that even counts as a strength, but I get the feeling that the overall mood of the club is taking a turn for the better.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
Deadweight- New York has a few players on the roster who are serviceable, but might not be exactly what D'Antoni and Walsh are looking for going forward. You've surely heard about them. Guys like Curry, Marbury, and Randolph are widely believed to be undesirables within the Knicks front office. Their continued presence will be a test of D'Antoni's coaching and patience.
Defense- The addition of Chris Duhon should bolster the backcourt defense slightly, but our frontcourt is still far too sedentary to stick with some of the flying man-beast forwards and centers that populate the league. Shipping away Renaldo Balkman doesn't help matters.
4. What are the goals for this team?
Significant improvement. I know, that phrase rings of a bitter and (hopefully) bygone era, but it's what we're looking for. A cinderella run to the playoffs would be sweet, no doubt (except for losing that lottery pick), but I think most of us would be happy with at least sniffing the top 8. Such an improvement would bring at least some modicum of respectibility and a sense of foundation rather than reinvention in the years ahead. Oh, and no more truck parties.
5. Will Gallinari be a factor?
Much fuss was made about the Knicks picking Danilo Gallinari with the 6th pick in this year's draft. Some weren't sure he could hang with NBA forwards, while others were foretelling All-Star berths for Il Gallo. The jury may still be out come next summer. The big rooster has a nagging back injury that kept him out of most of the Summer League and looks as if it will keep him shackled to an exercise bike for the rest of the training camp. If he misses all of preseason, Danilo just might not crack the rotation for the early part of the year. We may even be looking at a D-League candidate. It appears we're taking ourselves too seriously this year to let the young and the raw develop on the Garden floor. So, if Gallinari can't stay healthy, he'll be hard-pressed to make an impression in his rookie campaign.
Predicted Record: 36-46. Improvement, and hope for '09.
Here's the rest of the division:
New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks