Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
Pablo Prigioni, PG
The wily point guard may be one year older, but his wisdom and effort outweigh the questions surrounding his age. Prigioni does the little things that help organizations win games. He's been a pest with his ability to deflect inbounds passes, and he runs the offense well. Prigs doesn't force passes, and he knocks down open shots.
The 37-year-old isn't as athletic and quick as the competition, but he manages to avoid being a liability by utilizing his intuition and knowledge of the game. He'll be a solid backup point guard, and he ought to be an excellent mentor for Shane Larkin.
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG
The second-year player will take the next step this season. Hardaway Jr. plays with a ton of confidence, and he's continually making strides and evolving as a player and person. With his excellent jump shot, he will be a force in the triangle offense.
Hardaway Jr. could still be a little erratic at times, but he's a good shooter off the dribble and has gotten better making plays off ball screens. His defense still needs improvement, but with experience and proper coaching, he should become less of a liability. Hardaway Jr. will probably average new career highs in scoring, and he has the potential to be a serious X-factor for the Knicks.
Cleanthony Early, SF
As a rookie, Early won't be asked to do much more than defend his position and score when open. He has the potential to become a consistent scorer, especially against reserves, but he won't be featured as prominently as Hardaway Jr. and J.R. Smith.
Early is a reliable scorer off the dribble and should thrive as a cutter and off handoffs in the triangle offense. Early also rebounds well for his position and should help fortify one of New York's weaknesses. The young small forward will improve throughout the course of the season, and he will be consistent in head coach Derek Fisher's offense.
Andrea Bargnani, PF/C
Like Jason Smith, Bargnani should thrive in the triangle due to his mid-range shooting ability. Bargs is consistent from elbow to elbow, and if he desires, he could spread the floor out to the three-point line. The knock on Bargnani has been his health, but if he manages to stay on the court, he will be a solid contributor for the Knicks.
He held his own as a shot-blocker in 2013-14, and he's a competent man-to-man defender. He'll need to improve his help defense and rotations, however, in order not to be a question mark defensively.
Cole Aldrich, C
Aldrich has a soft touch around the basket and has proved to be a worthwhile defender and rebounder. He may not become a star, but the Knicks could trust the youngster to man the 5 for 20 minutes per game.
Aldrich is a good screener, and with his athleticism, he could make an impact against reserves in the pick-and-roll. He will finish at the rim and make the occasional jump hook from the post. He isn't a liability on either end of the floor, and for the moment, he fills a need at the 5.