Okay Knick fans, this is what we’ve all been waiting for. The waiving process has been dealt with, even though I think Thanasis Antetokounpo should have gotten more minutes (cough cough). Therefore, this is the opening day roster for the 2015-2016 New York Knicks. I think we all can agree that the preseason went pretty good, other than hearing about “soreness”, “hamstrings”, and “back-to-backs.” But never-mind all of that, this team is a product of arguably the greatest basketball mind of all-time (Phil Jackson). How do we feel? Are we Excited?
Let me tell you why I am not so enthusiastic about this team just yet.
First of all, let’s get Carmelo Anthony out-of-the-way first. Anthony was shooting the lights out in his first three games. He was not rushing his shot, and he was letting the game come to him. Being the focal point of the triangle offense, this is how one must play. But I am yet to see any sign of a killer-instinct come out of Carmelo Anthony. Both Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant had this killer-instinct instilled within them when playing in the triangle. Even last season, I did not see any sign of it. Lastly, please forgive me Carmelo, but enough smiling while on the court! Where has your competitive side gone?!
The guards have played great. The player projected to start for the Knicks at shooting guard played in only three games due to a left hamstring. He is a key piece to their team, he must be healthy for them to consistently win games. Jose Calderon has proven that he has not lost a step. He is making it a priority to shoot more to prove the doubters wrong. Calderon averaged 7.8 points per-game, while shooting 46.2% from behind the arc. I predict a great year in terms of shooting the ball from Langston Galloway. He shot 46.2% from the floor, and 50% from 3-point range. Also in every shooting practice throughout preseason that I watched in the Knicks facility, he did not miss one three-point attempt. Jerian Grant needs to start shooting more. There were times in this preseason where he was left wide open, whether it was from three, or driving to the hoop. Part of me feels like it’s his rookie jitters, but another part tells me it’s his confidence. Sasha Vujacic has also shown that he can still be a capable three-point threat in this league.
The big-men showed they are capable in playing in the offense. Kristaps Porzingis is one player that I am not worried about when talking about the Knicks bigs, other than injuries of course. He showed he can score the ball in multiple ways. Throughout the season, Kyle O’Quinn will be used to pass from the pinch-post. Kevin Seraphin won’t be doing much but looking to score in the post when needed to. We know Robin Lopez can play great defense, but man oh man does he need work backing down his defenders. When attempting to do so, he seems to be dribbling in one spot the entire time.
Derrick Williams shot the ball very well. He led the team in scoring with 16.2 points on 56.7% shooting. Williams is a tease. I am not expecting him to play as well as he did in preseason. Another surprise player from this preseason was Cleanthony Early. The coaching staff told him that the only way he will be able to make the biggest impact is on the defensive end, and he did just that by being physical with whomever came his way. He also knocked down some shots which was like a breath of fresh air after the way he shot last year.
It would be nice to see head coach Derek Fisher mix up the lineups a little more as the game goes on. Porzingis should have been playing more with the quicker and younger unit that were mostly the ones running the fast-breaks. Also, a Carmelo, Seraphin, Lopez lineup is something that should be played more as the season goes on. Instead of Lopez being forced to work in the post where he struggles, Seraphin could be there where he excels.
Knicks first real test will be against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 28th. The season is finally here. Will this Knicks team be another dud, or will it be a step towards the light? We’ll soon find out.
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