Believe it or not, the New York Knicks took a major step last season, advancing past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000. In 2013-14, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks will look to improve on last year's finish and lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time in four decades.
Although the two-time defending champion Miami Heat are once again the favorite to win the Eastern Conference, New York has the leadership and pieces in place to finish among the top teams in the conference again this season.
Many familiar faces, including Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler remain in the Big Apple. The key will be how newcomers like Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Piece and Tim Hardaway Jr. transition into Mike Woodson's rotation.
The Knicks won 54 games a season ago and clinched the No. 2 seed in the conference. Unfortunately, New York's offense disappeared for long stretches far too often in the postseason and the Knicks weren't able to capitalize on their improved defensive performance.
Needless to say, the Atlantic Division champions will need to discover better offensive flow this season.
With the Brooklyn Nets pulling off a blockbuster trade to bring in veteran stars Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from Boston, the Knicks will not only have to compete with the likes of Miami, Indiana and Chicago in the East, but also their new-look rivals from down the road.
With New York set to tip off its seven-game preseason schedule this October, be sure to check back here for the latest results, news and analysis surrounding the Knicks.
Wednesday, Oct. 9
|Boston Celtics||7:30 p.m.||Dunkin' Donuts Center||W 103-102|
Friday, Oct. 11
|Toronto Raptors||7 p.m.||Air Canada Centre||L 100-91|
Saturday, Oct. 12
|Boston Celtics||7:30 p.m.||Verizon Wireless Arena (N.H.)||L 111-81|
Thursday, Oct. 17
|Washington Wizards||7 p.m.||Baltimore Arena||W 98-89|
Monday, Oct. 21
|Toronto Raptors||7 p.m.||Air Canada Centre||L 123-120 OT|
Wednesday, Oct. 23
|Milwaukee Bucks||8 p.m.||Resch Center||L 105-95|
Friday, Oct. 25
|Charlotte Bobcats||7:30 p.m.||Madison Square Garden||L 85-83|
The Knicks are a little banged up heading into the regular season, but they got a couple of important debuts in Friday's preseason finale from Amar'e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith.
Stoudemire scored six points, with a steal and a block in 12 minutes, while Smith poured in 11 points with three rebounds and an assist in just 13 minutes.
Both players are coming off knee surgery, and Smith is expected to miss the first five games of the regular season with a suspension, so you won't be seeing much out of either player early on. Nevertheless, it was still encouraging to see both back in action.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner, in particular, looked like his old self, scoring in a hurry and knocking down his only three-point attempt on the night.
More than playing well and winning games, the New York Knicks will need to focus on getting healthy this October. According to ESPN New York's Ian Begley, guard Iman Shumpert missed practice on Thursday because of an injury to his right shoulder.
The severity of the injury hasn't yet been determined, but New York will need the defensive stopper at 100 percent in 2013-14 if it hopes to take the next step.
Shumpert only appeared in 45 regular-season games for the Knicks last season after returning from surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered in the 2012 playoffs. The 23-year-old stepped up his play in the postseason last spring, though, averaging 9.3 points per game on 43 percent shooting from downtown in 12 starts against the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers.
Meanwhile, reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith is recovering from offseason knee surgery. In mid-July, it was estimated that Smith would need 12 to 16 weeks to recover.
Smith averaged a career-high 18.1 points per game last season on 42 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Begley reports via Twitter that the 28-year-old veteran is being considered by head coach Mike Woodson as a potential starter this season:
Woodson said J.R. Smith is under consideration to start, but my guess is he remains in the 6th man role. #Knicks— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 3, 2013
With the offensive-minded Raymond Felton leading the way at point guard again this season, look for Shumpert to get the nod at shooting guard over Smith, assuming his shoulder isn't a problem. Shumpert is the better defender of the two and the Knicks need Smith's scoring punch to boost the second unit.
Two nights after winning their preseason opener over the Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks suffered their first loss of the preseason, a 100-91 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 24 points, but the Knicks got very little on offense from anyone else and couldn't keep things close in the fourth quarter—the Raptors outscored the Knicks 30-17 in the final frame.
Rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. and Metta World Peace each finished with 13 points for New York.
New addition Andrea Bargnani (10) and Iman Shumpert (10) each finished in double figures, but the Knicks got very little from their starting backcourt of Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. The duo combined for just four points on 2-of-9 shooting.
Shumpert's nine rebounds led the team, while Beno Udrih was king in the assist department with five. Josh Powell, Ike Diogu and Cole Aldrich all saw time in the second half while auditioning for a roster spot, but none of the three really set himself apart.
Tyson Chandler finished with six boards and six points in 20 minutes in the defeat.
On Thursday night in the Baltimore Arena, the New York Knicks used 30-16 second quarter to pull away from the Washington Wizards en route to a 98-89 win.
That was a nice change from their blowout loss to the Celtics just five days ago. Boston dismantled the Knicks 111-81.
Not that that contest was particularly alarming for the Knicks who were playing without Carmelo Anthony and numerous other veterans. Boston took control of that game in the first quarter and rode Kelly Olynyk's 15 points and a balanced scoring attack to earn the win.
New York Knick Ike Diogu was the high-scorer in that one with 21 points in 32 minutes.
Things looked a little more normal for the Knicks on Thursday as Anthony played 29 minutes and led all scorers with 22 points. He also led all players (along with the Wizards Bradley Beal) with 17 shots.
Beno Udrih was almost the hero for the New York Knicks on Monday night.
Terrance Ross was the hero for the Toronto Raptors instead.
Udrih sunk a three-pointer to give the Knicks a late lead over Toronto in overtime No. 1, but Ross nailed a three-pointer of his own to extend the game into a second OT. He had six points in the final frame as the Raptors held on for a 123-120 win.
Playing without regular contributors Raymond Felton, Amar'e Stoudemire and Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks managed to take a nine-point halftime lead over the Raptors.
But Toronto charged back to cut the deficit to two at the start of the fourth quarter, and even had a lead before Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a three-pointer to pull the Knicks back in front. After Udrih missed a free throw that would have extended the lead to three, Tyler Hansborough hit a basket to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
Udrih led the Knicks in scoring with 19 points. He added seven assists and four rebounds in a starting role. Metta World Peace had 16 points off the bench, and Hardaway and Tyson Chandler each chipped in 15 points.
Carmelo Anthony finished with nine points and eight rebounds of 4-of-13 shooting.
Several players looking to make the final roster that are still on the bubble played big roles on Monday night, including Ike Diogu, who finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 29 minutes. Former Wichita State product Toure' Murry had 12 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Ross led all scorers with 27 points. DeMar DeRozan finished with 21 for Toronto, and Rudy Gay had 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
The tumultuous preseason for the New York Knicks continued on Wednesday night with a 10-point defeat from the Resch Center in Green Bay at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Carmelo Anthony and Co. found themselves down 56-45 at the half, but battled back in the third quarter by outscoring the Bucks by six. Milwaukee was then able to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 105-95 victory.
New York went without Raymond Felton and Amar'e Stoudemire and suffered as a result. Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih combined for just nine points. Carmelo unsurprisingly led the way for the Knicks with 22 points.
There's a silver lining in every loss, which is the case here as impressive first-round pick Tim Hardaway Jr. was able to go 3-of-9 from downtown en route to 16 points.
Regardless, the New York defense was predictably porous, as Caron Butler and O.J. Mayo imposed their will on the way to 24 and 22 points, respectively.
Now on a two-game losing streak, the Knicks have one final preseason contest on Friday against Charlotte to get things right before the season officially starts.