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Pre-Game Reconnaissance: Nets at Knicks 10/03/17

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Prepare yourself for Knicks-Nets!

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is back! Well, it’s preseason basketball but that’s fine. It’s time for us to all get our fixes. The new-look Knicks open the five-game preseason schedule at The Garden against the new-look Brooklyn Nets. Both teams will have new looks!

I’m bringing back Pre-Game Reconnaissance. Though I will be changing some stuff, I promise that in future editions of PGR, I will imitate people on Omegle.

The Foe:

Brooklyn’s young general manager, Sean Marks, did some work this offseason! Despite not owning the lottery pick that he should have had, Marks made some moves that’ll probably elevate his team from their 20-win season a year ago. Or maybe not. It probably won’t matter.

The big move, of course, was the trade that sent Brook Lopez and their 27th overall pick to the Lakers for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Even though it’s just a preseason game, Nets fans will be judging every single play.

D’Angelo Russell has underwhelmed in his NBA career, especially when you consider Kristaps Porzingis was taken just two picks later. Last year he averaged 15/4/3, and was essentially ousted to make room for Lonzo Ball. But now, he’s the face of the franchise and will probably be playing with a chip on his shoulder. His back court partner will be Jeremy Lin.

In the front court, the Nets will trot out the aforementioned Mozgov, as well as 2017 22nd overall pick Jarrett Allen, who entered the draft after one season at Texas. They’ll also play DeMarre Carroll, who came over from the Toronto Raptors after a down 2016-17 season. Also, our Nets sister site, NetsDaily, expects to see more of Quincy Acy this year.

They also have Tyler Zeller now, who signed a 2-year deal this offseason. Moving on!

The Nets will be without new acquisition Allen Crabbe, and Caris LeVert, who are out with injuries.

Trying to guess starting fives before even one minute of preseason play is an asinine endeavour. Expect to see Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Carroll and Mozgov.

This is what Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily thinks we should look out for tonight.

Notably, this about Jarrett Allen:

If NBA 2K18 is any indicator, the rookie out of Texas could be the best rebounder on the Nets roster! The 6’11” big with a near 7’6” wingspan won praise coming out of the draft for his ability to battle on the boards, run the floor, anchor a defense, and use his athleticism to excel at the 5 spot, maybe even the 4. Like Timofey Mozgov and Tyler Zeller, he too has been shooting threes, he told NetsDaily.

The big question is, what’s he like? Since he didn’t play in Summer League with many of the aforementioned Nets due to injury, it’s time for Brooklyn fans to see what they have in the early (early early) stages of his development. Kenny Atkinson has nothing but praise for the kid and there’s apparently been no discussion of him headed east to Long Island. But he’s still the second youngest player in Nets history and the youngest, Derrick Favors, didn’t last past the trade deadline.

Will he quickly be the successor to preumed starting center Timofey Mozogv?

The Knicks:

As of press time, there is no clear indication of Frank Ntilikina’s status for tonight’s game.

According to Newsday’s Al Iannazzone:

“See how he feels [Tuesday],” Hornacek said. “We always tell our guys we’d rather play through some of that stuff, but if it’s at a level that it’s going to hurt you that’s a different story. He’ll come in [Tuesday] and we’ll see.

I wouldn't expect to see him play tonight.

None of that matters, though. Because this will be our first time seeing Michael Beasley as a Knick and that makes up for everything. I mean, he said this in an interview Bleacher Report’s Aaron Weitzman:

"[It's] mostly perception. As far as talent-wise, I match up with Kevin [Durant], LeBron, I match up with the best guys in the world," Beasley says. "I'm not being cocky; it's just always how I felt. But I got into trouble as soon as I got into the NBA, and it left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths."

Otherwise, there isn’t much to report, here. With Ntilikina probably out, how Jeff Hornacek manages the back court will be interesting. How minutes get divided between Ramon Sessions, Jarret Jack and (also maybe unavailable) Ron Baker at the 1, and Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Damyean Dotson is something to pay close attention to.

Hopefully, tonight’s game can give us a some insight on what the front court pairings might look like moving forward. Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez will probably be the starters in the post, but with the sudden log jam at the centre position, seeing who comes off the bench first and who gets minutes in certain situations will be something to keep an eye on.

It will also be interesting to see Joakim Noah play for the first time since early February. Maybe this will light a fire under him?

It probably won’t, I just needed a reason to bring up the subway thing which is just hysterical.

You want my guess for a starting five? Fine, I’ll give it to you. Sessions, Hardaway Jr., Lance Thomas, Porzingis, Hernangomez.

MISC.

Please refer to the subway thing.

***

A brave new era in Knicks history begins tonight at 7:30 PM ET and will be on MSG! Go The Knicks!