I'm doing my best to avoid predictions and projections for the 2015-16 Knicks. There has been an incredible amount of turnover in the roster -- these guys have never really played basketball together. It's kind of hard to attach a win total to this situation.
Unfortunately, the base, animal part of my brain can't resist the urge to glance ever briefly at articles like ESPN's 2015 Summer Forecast series. Their "Team Turmoil" rankings placed the Knicks second in the entire league for prospective turmoil, ahead of only the Sacramento Kings.
Whatever, right? The Knicks and turmoil go together like Latrell Sprewell and the desire to feed one's family. They're simply inseparable at this point.
But maybe -- just maybe -- the time has come to reevaluate the relationship between this franchise and internecine chaos. We are fast approaching a "Webster's defines 'turmoil' as..." moment for the Knicks. If you believe there will be turmoil, the least you can do is define it. What form will this ever-so-likely turmoil take, and where will it come from?
Looking back on tumultuous Knicks teams of the past -- and there have been so, so many -- a few common elements emerge. Players and/or coaches don't have the support of the front office; players are unhappy with their roles.
Sorry, but I just don't see that with the 2015-16 club. Hell, I didn't see it with last year's club -- they sucked, they traded away players they no longer wanted, and then they sucked even worse, but they still carried themselves in a professional, non-Knicksian manner.
The coach (Derek Fisher) has the support of the president (Phil Jackson). Each player on the 2015-16 roster was chosen (or re-signed) by Jackson. Nearly every veteran signed on with the Knicks as a free agent -- maybe they signed for the money, but at least they're coming into the situation of their own free will.
Take another look at this roster. Where are the potential troublemakers? Can we really expect trouble from the likes of Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams and Kyle O'Quinn? Are Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas going to complain about minutes?
Perhaps New York's ranking is based on the idea that Carmelo Anthony will almost certainly ask for a trade this season. I sincerely doubt that happens -- Melo has yet to provide any real indication he wants to leave New York, and as Dan Feldman recently pointed out, he would earn a great deal more money from the trade kicker in his contract by waiting until the cap rises to demand a trade.
These forecasts are always hypothetical, but with the Knicks people seem to ignore the fact that they lack many of the telltale signs of a team on the verge of anarchy. They don't have a coach on the hot seat. They don't have a bunch of ball-dominant players on the roster who may fight over shots (*cough* Lakers *cough*). For all the weaknesses of this roster -- lack of depth on the perimeter, still too many defensive black holes -- it is not set up for discord. The Knicks have one high-volume scorer (Melo) surrounded by a bunch of low-maintenance veterans and youngsters. I wouldn't go so far as to predict a great deal of winning, but I would predict harmony.
Look, as long as James Dolan owns the Knicks, there will be a chance for absolute chaos to break out at any time. They are the NBA's version of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Yes, one day it will erupt, and probably kill us all. Until then, however, you might as well stop by and enjoy the tranquil views.