The New York Knicks had another horrible season last year just to
add to the others awful seasons that the Franchise has presented in the
last decade. This time it was all about creating the best possible
conditions for the team to receive some superstar players in the
upcoming offseason in expense of simply not caring about the season
they were currently playing.
They didn’t make any substantial movement to improve the team, heck
they got rid of their first round draft pick Jordan Hill midway the
season just to receive the expiring contract of Tracy McGrady!
In a way, it is pretty easy to understand why the Knicks had such
(another) terrible season, as not only they didn’t have the talent and
the depth to compete in a long marathon NBA season, but also the
majority of their players already knew that they wouldn’t be with the
team in the following season. As much a professional player can be,
it’s hard to work knowing that you won’t belong in the future of the
team, you are just a mere puppet in the organization and that was the
mind set for that team last season.
Is there any positive factor from last season? Well, Danilo
Gallinari was able to play 81 games after his injured prone rookie
season. Rookie PG Toney Douglas was able to take advantage of the
horrific display from Chris Duhon and Wilson Chandler improved his
shooting percentages from the field. That’s it… because only these 3
players will play in this season with a Knicks uniform!
2009/10 Advanced Stats:
Pace 9th 97.3
Offense 16th 104.8
Defense 27th 108.5
Rebounds 28th -4.51
Projected Depth Chart:
PG: Raymond Felton, Toney Douglas
SG: Wilson Chandler, Kelenna Azubuike, Roger Mason, Andy Rautins
SF: Danilo Gallinari, Bill Walker, Landry Fields, Patrick Ewing Jr.
PF: Amare Stoudemire, Anthony Randolph
C: Timofey Mozgov, Ronny Turiaf, Eddy Curry
For a losing franchise and that’s the way we must call the Knicks in
the last years, the organization failed once again in achieving their
ultimate goal: Lebron James! The Knicks consistently got rid of their
best players (which weren’t a bad thing at all), but in the end they
couldn’t offer a competitive offer to Lebron James like the Heat was
able to offer. After all, Pat Riley had Dwayne Wade to convince Lebron
James to join Miami, while Donnie Walsh was stuck with the $11M Eddy
Curry’s contract. It was easy to announce the winner.
After failing with their plan A, Walsh went after Amare Stoudemire
and offered him a 5-year contract to be the cornerstone of the
franchise. Although it looks like the plan doesn’t end with Amare, as
the Knicks are also blinking their eyes to get Chris Paul and Carmelo
Anthony in the future.
Stoudemire is coming from a complete 82-games season in Phoenix, in
which he was a “monster” in the second half of season. His offensive
skills aren’t in doubt since he is able to remain healthy, as last
season he averaged 23.1 points per game, while shooting 55.7% from the
field. He is explosive near the basket, he has an effective a solid mid
range jumper, he is an 80% guy from the charity stripe and… he won’t
play with Steve Nash anymore. We already know how special Steve Nash is
in making his teammates looking better players than they really are,
just look for Shawn Marion’s career after leaving Phoenix! Amare has to
prove that he can put the same kind of numbers every single game
without the presence of that little guy who always found a way to fed
him down low.
The Knicks’ own version of Steve Nash will be filed by Raymond
Felton from the Charlotte Bobcats. Apparently the Bobcats didn’t think
that Felton was good enough because they made little to no effort to
retain Felton’s services this summer as a free agent. He has been a
durable player through his career and last season he shot a career high
45.9% from the field and also committed 2.1 turnovers per game – a
career low. His numbers in my opinion are a bit underrated because he
has been playing for a perennial losing franchise that plays in a slow
pace hard noised kind of game unlike the player’s friendly system that
Mike D’Antoni runs with his teams.
However, Felton will have to adjust quickly to a new system because
the expectations are pretty high and the Knicks fans are tired of the
bad overall play from their Point Guards like Chris Duhon, Nate
Robinson or Stephon Marbury in the last years.
The team is still waiting for Danilo Gallinari to break out and
turns into a superstar player, but will he ever be able to make such
jump? Nevertheless, he is coming from a pretty solid last season, in
which he averaged 15.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks and
2.3 3-pointers per game, but because he was playing for a losing team
he received plenty of opportunities to play even if wasn’t playing that
well. Gallo is built for this system and he has the athleticism and
the IQ to be a good all around player plus he’s only 22-years old too,
so the potential is there, it is just a matter of him to show it in a
game to game basis.
The same opportunity to play was given to Wilson Chandler, but
Chandler didn’t take advantage of it. He still averaged a respectable
15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers
last season, but just look for his 3pts% numbers between January and
March: 23.8% - 37.5% - 8.3%. The word “inconsistency” makes sense for
him, right? Chandler won’t have the patient that the organization had
for him in the past, so it’s better that he finds some consistency on
his game or else his future in New York will be in danger.
Donnie Walsh signed Roger Mason and Kelenna Azubuike to complete the
backcourt and these two players have the reputation to be good long
range shooters. Kelenna Azubuike played only 9 games last season in
Golden State, but he is a flashy combo guard who already knows how to
play in a fast tempo system, while Roger Mason has the experience in
playing for a winning franchise.
From all the Walsh’s acquisitions in this offseason, none of them
have the potential to be a terrific signing than Anthony Randolph sign.
In his days in Golden State, he was stuck in Don Nelson’s doghouse for
strange reasons because the Warriors were depleted in the frontcourt.
Still, as a starter (30 starts), he has averaged 11.0 points, 7.9
rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals in just 25.1 minutes per game.
Because of his quickness for his position, he is a potential matchup
nightmare for his opponents, but he needs to remain healthy first and
be consistent next. He’s only 21 years old, so Mike D’Antoni has the
task to polish this pure diamond because he can really push this
franchise to the next level.
For the center position, the Knicks signed Ronny Turiaf and he is an
energetic player that has the ability to be an instant fan favorite.
However, the truly underrated center of this team is the Russian
Timofey Mozgov, who is a rare true big center in this league with his
7-1 & 250 lbs. frame and he showed some skills in the last FIBA
World Championship. Lamar Odom referred him before the matchup between
USA and Russia as being “their Wilt Chamberlain”. It’s up to D’Antoni
to be patient and help him to integrate into a new country, a new
league and a new system. If he is capable of doing that, then the
Knicks will have a pleasant surprise because Mozgov provides the
defensive presence that the team simply doesn’t have right now.
Definitely the Knicks have an improved roster when compared to the
last seasons, but the “plan” wasn’t just to improve, instead the Knicks
have the word domination in their minds, so we might be surprised with
a major addition (CP3 and/or Carmelo Anthony) somewhere in the future.
Right now we are dealing with an unbalanced team and Mike D’Antoni has
to work fast to find the right chemistry and the proper rotations.
Behind the Celtics, the division is really wide open and the Knicks
have legit chances to be present in the postseason.
Mozgov has been a nice surprise for the Knicks but still he has a long road to go in the NBA. He played limited minutes in his Russian club Khimki last season, but gained some attention when he played for his national team. However in both teams he played in a slow paced system, so playing in a run and gun system won’t be easy for him to adjust besides all the cultural changes. The Knicks will improve in the rebounding department but still I don’t see them being a top 15 in this area. Actually, down the stretch I can see the Knicks’ using Amare Stoudemire as a center and Anthony Randolph at the Power Forward position.
Been waiting for this one. What do you make of the new look centre position in Mozgov/Turiaf in a division where they need to take on O'Neal's/Perkins, Lopez, Bargnani/Andersen (haha gotta support the countryman)? What sort of a transition does Mozgov make? This team is going to take some time to come together with all these acquisitions particularly with Amare-Felton being the playmakers.