Last year, the New York Knicks improved by 15 wins and finished the season 32-50. Granted that is still not an admirable final record, but going from 17 wins to 32 is a huge jump. Looking forward to this season, I see tremendous room for growth. I’m not saying they will improve by another 15 wins, but they definitely have the opportunity to improve by double digits.
Meet the New Coach
In the off-season, the Knicks hired Jeff Hornacek as their new head coach. His all-time W-L record as an NBA head coach is 101-112. That isn’t promising, however, he was coaching a pretty abysmal Suns team, that he did lead to a 48-34 record in his first year. It seems as though this year Phil Jackson is going for more of a hands-off approach and letting Hornacek do his own thing. That being said, I think the triangle offense in New York has finally came to a tragic end. The Knicks also acquired some very interesting players in the off-season as well.
Meet the New Point Guards
Going from Jose Calderon to Derrick rose at point guard is going to make a world of difference. Calderon, in my opinion, was a horrible starting point guard for the Knicks. They picked him up because they thought his outside shooting ability would compliment the triangle offense, but he couldn’t drive, he couldn’t defend, and he couldn’t stay on the court. That last issue may pose a problem with Derrick Rose. Rose has the ability to score at will from almost anywhere on the court, he’s got great vision, and he’s shown flashes of his MVP athleticism. He’s not going to be the same player he was prior to his major injuries, but he is an upgrade from Calderon. The Knicks also signed Brandon Jennings as a back up, who during the pre-season has looked surprisingly good.
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Meet the New Center
Joakim Noah is the Knicks starting center. It’s as simple as that. Noah only played in 29 games last season, averaging over 20 minutes per game. He played in a bench role and his stats suffered. He is a defensive anchor, something the Knicks desperately need. He isn’t much of a scorer, averaging just under 10 points a game for his career, but where he lacks in scoring he makes up for in hustle and grit. I love this signing for the Knicks and I think Noah is going to have a huge bounce-back year.
Meet the New Shooting Guard
At shooting guard, the Knicks went from Aaron Afflalo last season to Courtney Lee this season. Afflalo provided a boost for the Knicks last season, but I felt he was inconsistent in what he needed to do. Courtney Lee is the only player to shoot above 37% from three in seven of the past eight seasons. That’s the kind of consistency that could help the Knicks at the shooting guard position.
Other New Additions
Along with those big off-season signings, the Knicks have some promising rookies coming in. They signed two foreign big men, Willy
Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who have both shown their ability to efficiently score. Ron Baker, Marshall Plumlee and Chasson Randle are all promising young players that could each bring their own benefits to the organization.
If you take all these new pieces and add them to the likes of proven star Carmelo Anthony and rising star Kristaps Porzingis, and you’ve got the potential to win games. They’re going to rely on the veteran leadership from Sasha Vujacic, Lou Amundson, Lance Thomas, and Kyle O’quinn to get over the hump and lead this young team to a successful season (and hopefully the playoffs).
Projected W-L Record
44-40, 9 win improvement from last season
Keys to Success
- Veteran Leadership
- Staying Healthy
- Progress from Kristaps Porzingis
- “Buying in” to Hornacek and his plan
— Dominick DiNardo (@dinardodp) October 20, 2016