The New York Knicks are back and finally have moved on from Carmelo Anthony. Although Melo is one of my all time favorite basketball players and my favorite Knick, it was time for him and New York to part ways. With the trade the Knicks acquired Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second round pick. Overall I like this trade, but I would’ve loved to see the Knicks get the Thunder’s high flying rookie Terrance Ferguson as well.
From last season the Knicks kept Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Ron Baker, Joakim Noah, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Lance Thomas, Courtney Lee, and Kyle O’Quinn. I am expecting breakout seasons for Porzingis and Hernangomez this year with the Knicks trading Melo and needing guys to step up. Porzingis will start to become the leader of this team this year since he is clearly the best player and will be the main focus of the offense and a big part of their defense. Joakim Noah will probably continue to rob the Knicks of $72 million since there is no way he turns back the clock and plays like someone who deserves a contract that big. Kuz, Baker, and O’Quinn are younger guys who should continue to grow and become better role players, although O’Quinn could be the odd man out of our 4 centers with one likely to be traded. Courtney Lee has been said to be potentially starting at small forward this year and will make the same impact as last year as a solid 3 and D player. I also expect close to nothing from Lance Thomas as usual, he is pretty irrelevant and often makes me wonder how he is still on an NBA roster.
We also acquired a few new players via free agency such as; Tim Hardaway Jr., Michael Beasley, Ramon Sessions, Jarrett Jack, and a variety of undrafted players signed to 2 way contracts. I loved the re-acquiring of Tim Hardaway Jr. and I think he will be able to put up good numbers this season starting at the 2 for us. As long as he works on his defense and stays consistent he looks to have a bright future here in New York. Michael Beasley is a go to guy when you need a bucket and has thrived in the New York media so far. He is a great personality and a solid veteran to add to help out these young Knicks. Sessions and Jack will likely be competing for one spot on the roster and will mentor Frank Ntilikina throughout the season.
Through the draft the Knicks selected their point guard of the future, Frank Ntilikina, with pick number 8 and Damyean Dotson in the second round. Many fans, including myself, were initially upset when Frank was selected over Dennis Smith and Malik Monk, but now I have faith in Ntilikina. The French Prince will likely start either right from opening night or after a few games to get him used to the NBA. I’m expecting Frank to shock everyone and have a productive rookie season just as Porzingis did when everyone doubted him. Dotson could be the steal of the draft projected in a few mock drafts to go late first round but instead falling to the Knicks in the second round. I don’t expect him to get many minutes behind Hardaway and Lee, but he could shine in whatever minutes he gets.
Overall I hope for the Knicks to compete for a playoff spot in the wide open East this year, but mainly just want to see growth and good team basketball from their younger team. If they can develop good chemistry between the young core they could set themselves up to be a playoff caliber team in future seasons. Anything less than 30 wins is a disappointing season in my eyes and I could see this team being a 7 or 8 seed in the playoffs this year.