Tonight the NBA gets underway! Opening night means a lot of things across the league but for Knicks fans its means optimism. Even if false optimism, New York fans always think this will be the year everything turns around and a long playoff run in coming in the following months. We know how things usually work out and Knicks fans will hate the roster and how the season shakes out but that is future Steve’s problem. Right now its time to looks at this roster and see what the biggest questions/ issues will be for the New York Knickerbockers.
Projected Starting Lineup
Key Bench Players (most important first)
Sasha Vujacic (yea seriously this guy is still around)
As is the normal for the Knicks lately, this roster looks very different from that that played the final game last year. The biggest names are DRose and Noah coming over from Chicago, in a trade and Free Agency respectively. The will ultimately regret giving Noah a 4 year deal but again future Steve can complain about that. The Knicks weren’t done therem adding PG Jennings (should of drafted him years ago but thats a different story) and SG Lee. These two signings are probably more important then adding the former MVP and Defensive MVP to the roster. Jeff Horneck got the surprise hire as head coach but with a revamped Knicks roster change anything?
Who is DRose?
Is he the youngest MVP in history or is he the injured PG that is a waste of space on a roster? So this is tough question to really answer but I will try. Derrick Rose will get off to a slow start since he missed most of the preseason but he will be a key contributor to the Knicks this year. Yes he will miss games with injuries but it won’t be that bad since he will need the rest those knees. I think Rose plays over 55 games and plays at a above average level. So no, he will be not be either of the Derrick Rose’s the NBA knows. The move was a typical NY big name trade but I think it was a smart move, didn’t lose much and the risk is small, 1 year “show me” deal for Rose in NY, just what he needs.
This will be a transformation year for Rose, he will adapt to his new role in the NBA, a strong player but not a star in the NBA. My biggest fear is that this happens and the Knicks think he can improve to an MVP level again and re-sign him to a max deal. That would be so typical of the Knicks, I almost know it will happen but I am excited to see Rose at the Garden.
Will the Knicks move on from Melo and hand the team to Porzingis?
Short answer is no! This is New York and Phil Jackson wants to think this team is a title contender but we all know that they are not and won’t be for a few years. The NBA is very top heavy so it is probably in the best interest for the Knicks to sit out a few years then in 2019-ish when Porzingis is an MVP contender they have a young roster that could win a title.
None of that can happen with Melo on the roster. Let me state that I am a big Melo fan and I think he can be unstoppable at times but this team is in limbo that is the worst thing in sports. The Knicks should look to move Melo at the deadline for assets to build around Porzingis. This kid is 21 years old and a complete unicorn in this league. 7’3” with a smooth stroke and can become a defensive wizard. The time is now to hand him the keys to the Knicks franchise even if it means a few more years of struggle.
Until that happens I will be rooting for the Knicks to win every game just in case this roster clicks and becomes must watch TV.
So will they make the playoffs?
Lets look at the East, there are 6 locks to make the playoffs in my mind (Cavs, Raptors, Celtics, Pacers, Hawks, Pistons). That leaves 2 spots for Knicks, Wizards, Hornets, Heat and Bucks. I think it will be a 3 team battle for the spot, NYK/DC/CHA, and I don’t love the Knicks vs those 2 teams. But hey the season hasn’t started yet so theres optimism right?! Knicks claim that final 8th spot in the East and lose to the Cavs 4-1, not what the Knicks really hoped for but I will take it as a fan!
My real goals for the Knicks are simple: Keep KP healthy and watch him grow into a megastar, don’t make a stupid trade and get rid of first round picks, and be competitive in all games. This team will be on national television often so just be worth watching and I will enjoy this season.
#Knickstape for life
Also published on Medium.