After winning just 17 games last season, it’s hard to see the Knicks taking a step back this year and despite missing out on marquee free agents LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe, the Knicks still improved. They acquired Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, Kyle O’Quinn, Kevin Seraphin and Derrick Williams as ready made NBA players that can contribute to the roster immediately. Afflalo has not been a capable NBA player in the last two years and was last sighted looking lost on both ends of the floor when asked to replace Wesley Matthews for the Portland Trail Blazers. Another addition from the Blazers was Centre Robin Lopez, a good offensive rebounder, rim protector and a solid offensive player. They also added end of rotation big men Seraphin and Williams – who both have become NBA journeymen despite beginning their careers with very different expectations – as well as the intriguing Kyle O’Quinn who looks to be able to shoot threes, catch boards and play hard every night. O’Quinn should be the first man off the bench.
The reason he will be coming off the bench is that the Knicks are planning to start fourth pick Kristaps Porzingis at Power Forward this season, a talented 7’3 Latvian who could eventually become a three point shooting, shot blocking, athletic beast. The decision to start Porzingis is the right call as it doesn’t look as if the Knicks have enough quality to compete for a playoff spot and giving Zinger 20 minutes a night against NBA hardened bodies will do wonders for his development. It appears their other draft pick Jerian Grant will come off the bench behind Jose Calderon to start the season, but will likely finish the season as starter. This kid can ball and don’t be surprised if he makes one of the All-Rookie teams a la Langston Galloway last season.
One thing that will be interesting for the Knicks this season is the Power Forward rotation, with Porzingis, Williams, Seraphin and O’Quinn all playing their best ball at the four and top 20 player Carmelo Anthony also being best suited to Power Forward in todays NBA. If healthy, Melo will be forced to play almost exclusively at the 3, with just Cleanthony Early and Lance Thomas on the roster who can play the position. Melo’s health truly is a key to this teams success and if he can play over 65 games this year, the Knicks may be able to win 30 games. The Knicks don’t own their draft pick this summer and this is the only thing that convinces me that the Knicks will be playing hard every night to secure as many wins as possible. I would almost be able to mount an argument for this team to be in playoff contention on the back of a big season from Melo, RoLo anchoring their defense and Porzingis to show glimpses of the star he will one day become, but then I remember Derek Fisher is coach. Fisher struggled in his first season and still has a lot to prove before he’s considered a capable NBA coach. 26 wins seems right to me.
Projected Record: 21-51
My Predicted Wins: 25-30
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