New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics: Players to Watch in Atlantic Division Battle

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2012

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 21:  Jared Sullinger #7 of the Boston Celtics poses for a portrait during the 2012 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 21, 2012 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

If you think preseason basketball doesn't matter, you need a reality check.

While it may not be the most entertaining, the NBA preseason gives organizations a chance to look at their teams under a microscope and craft a roster and rotation for the upcoming season.

The New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics will have the opportunity to do just that on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in TD Garden.

Here are three players I'll have my eye on tomorrow night.


Jared Sullinger, F, Celtics

The Celtics get another chance to look at their No. 21 overall draft pick on Saturday night. The 6'9" forward logged 26 minutes in his first preseason action against Istanbul, scoring 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds and recording a block.

In a starting role against Milano, Sullinger was again solid, netting nine points, snatching seven rebounds and swatting one shot in 18 minutes.

The 20-year-old rookie is already receiving high praise from starting point guard Rajon Rondo, according to the Celtics.

Rajon Rondo says that Jared Sullinger is the smartest rookie the Celtics have had during Rondo's tenure with the team.

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 10, 2012

Sullinger looks to be a bright spot of the draft and could eventually find his way into a starting role, sending Brandon Bass to the bench.


Jason Kidd, PG, Knicks

It's going to be interesting to see what Jason Kidd's role is in the Knicks offense this season, and if he can make it home safely without crashing his Escalade.

All jokes aside, Raymond Felton appears to be in great shape this season and is set to be the starting PG in New York, with Kidd assuming a backup role for the first time in his career.

In his first action with the Knicks, in a preseason game against the Washington Wizards, Kidd scored four points and dished out four assists in 23 minutes but turned the ball over three times, finishing the game with a plus-nine.

I think Kidd is going to provide the veteran leadership that this Knicks team lacks with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire as the leaders.

I'd expect to see Kidd log somewhere around 20 minutes again on Saturday and I'll be watching his stroke from beyond the arc and his turnovers.


Fab Melo, C, Celtics

Much has been made of the 2012 Big East Defensive Player of the Year Fab Melo after being deemed ineligible for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

After spending just two seasons at Syracuse, Melo has yet to really prove his worth to the Celtics in two preseason games so far.

In 14 total minutes this preseason, Melo has yet to score his first bucket and has a combined four rebounds and one block.

Melo finds himself behind Kevin Garnett at center, and unless he really starts to develop, his playing time won't increase much unless Garnett suffers an injury (which is pretty likely at his age).

Regardless, Melo is an interesting player to study on the court. He has all the tools to be a solid NBA center, but I'm still questioning his attitude and work ethic.


Follow me on Twitter: 


    Kyrie Irving Puts on a Show as Celtics Hold Knicks 121-112

    Boston Celtics logo
    Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving Puts on a Show as Celtics Hold Knicks 121-112

    Stevens Doesn't Expect Hayward to Return This Season

    Boston Celtics logo
    Boston Celtics

    Stevens Doesn't Expect Hayward to Return This Season

    via Realgm

    Have Celtics solved their second-quarter problem?

    Boston Celtics logo
    Boston Celtics

    Have Celtics solved their second-quarter problem?

    NBC Sports Boston
    via NBC Sports Boston

    Report: Butler (Meniscus) to Miss 4-to-6 Weeks

    NBA logo

    Report: Butler (Meniscus) to Miss 4-to-6 Weeks

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report