It's that time of year, y'all! The Celtics friends went yesterday, and today is all about your New York Knicks. Check out Straight Bangin', Bandwagon Knick, and Knickerblogger for more (and presumably more valid) previews.
Team Name: New York Knicks
Last Year’s Record: 29-53
Key Losses: David Lee, Al Harrington, Chris Duhon
Key Additions: Amar'e Stoudemire, Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, Roger Mason.
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?
Amar'e Stoudemire was signed to a maximum contract. David Lee was signed and traded for Randolph, Azubuike, and Turiaf. Raymond Felton, Roger Mason, and Timofey Mozgov were acquired. Memories of Chris Duhon and Al Harrington were erased via Neuralyzer. The possibility of Isiah Thomas returning moved us all to the brink of insanity.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Depth! I bet I've said that each of the last three years, but I mean it this time, y'all. All of the signings have blessed Mike D'Antoni with the manpower to experiment with lineups, adjust to all kinds of match-ups, and weather any injuries. Moreover, D'Antoni has depth of the defensive variety, with a whole quiver of different weapons at his disposal. He's got two ball-seeking missiles in the backcourt (Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas) , some steady broadswords to deter wings (Kelenna Azubuike, Wilson Chandler, and even Landry Fields), and the option to either bludgeon big men (Ronny Turiaf) or pierce them with venomous laser beams from space (Anthony Randolph).
This team also appears well-equipped to run the pick-and-roll. Ray Felton isn't Steve Nash, but he's a capable lead guard, and he'll have an elite roller to feed in Stoudemire. Randolph and Timofey Mozgov should see touches in the pick-and-roll as well.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
Rebounding. In years past, the gameplan was simply to let David Lee clean up any mess. With Lee out of the picture, the Knicks' frontcourt is still a bit undersized and is populated with surprisingly poor rebounders in Stoudemire, Turiaf, and Mozgov. They'll need forwards like Chandler, Randolph, and Danilo Gallinari to help out quite a bit.
Outside shooting might also be a weakness. A healthy Roger Mason should shoot better than he did last year, but he and Danilo Gallinari are the team's only true sharpshooters. Then again, if Kelenna Azubuike recovers in full, he should be a reliable outside threat, and Bill Walker put up some preposterous shooting numbers last year. You know, I think I just talked myself into outside shooting as a strength.
4. What are the goals for this team?
Making the playoffs, for sure, but I'd add in putting up a fight. I'm too starry-eyed to be reasonable, but I really think this is a playoff team, and I'm even greedy enough to wish for at least the threat of an upset in round one. If this team could sneak in as a 7 or 8 seed and steal some games off someone like the Heat, that would be just about the best thing that's ever happened to me.
5. What will become of Anthony Randolph?
There are number of players- Gallinari, Felton, that Stoudemire guy- that will use more possessions and have more of an effect on the court than Anthony Randolph will this season. That said, I have this strange feeling that Randolph is the wild card that will sink the Knicks or keep them afloat. The expectations for Randolph are remarkably polar. Some see a six-eyed basketball-eating extraterrestrial flying sighthound with All-Star potential and Venus Flytraps for hands. Others see an abject bust. Randolph's season and career will fall somewhere in between, but his spirit is so typical of these Knicks that I can't help but think of him as the team's totem. If Randolph can harness his seismic defensive potential and hone his offensive talent into a workable plan, then I see no reason why the rest of the team can't follow suit. As Anthony Randolph goes, so go the Knicks. Everything I just said is patently bogus, but it is a reality in which I choose to operate.
Predicted record: 42-40 and the 7th or 8th seed. I think I've predicted that or something like it every year, but this time I'm super cereal.