Out with the old, and in with the new.
After two years of trading talent (albeit useless talent) for expiring contracts, the New York Knicks spent this summer finally adding to their payroll instead of subtracting from it. With an essentially brand new, revamped roster, there is a lot of speculation as to what to expect this year.
Three quarters of the roster are new players and not one of them is above the age of 30. This bodes well for a rebuilding Knicks, who after a miserable decade, are on the right track to become a contender in a few years. Youth, talent, good contracts (for the most part) allow Knicks fans to breathe a sigh of relief.
New York basketball is back.
With that said, here is a look at the (projected) new Knicks roster:
The fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft, Felton was taken right behind fellow point guards Deron Williams and Chris Paul. While not as high profile as the the two taken before him, Felton has been very good with the Charlotte Bobcats. For his career, he has averaged 13.3 PPG and 6.4 APG.
Felton is a true point guard.
He is coming from defensive minded system with Larry brown’s Bobcats to a high powered offense in Mike D’Antoni’s "seven seconds or less" system. Expect his PPG and APG to jump. I see him dropping about 15-17 points and dishing out eight assists per night.
Considered more of a combo guard, Douglas will be getting most of his burn coming off the bench behind Felton. He had a mildly impressive rookie campaign (considering he did not get that much playing time), but is not ready to run a team.
He has shown that he can be a dangerous scorer, with good shooter's touch and the ability to finish at the rim while taking contact. His true value lies in his defensive tenacity. He sticks to his man like super glue, and is a danger in the passing lanes.
Being the one and only back up point guard on the team, Douglas’s playing time will go way up this season. With the increase in minutes, there will also be an increase in production. On a few occasions last year Douglas broke the 20-point mark, which is a good sign of things to come. Give him a full year of meaningful playing time and he will be a big time contributor night after night.
At the beginning of last season, many people expected Chandler to average about 20 PPG. He didn’t. He certainly has the potential to be be a consistent 20-point scorer, and will definitely hit that mark at some point.
He averaged 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds through the ‘09-‘10 season, which he should improve on this year. He had two surgeries this offseason which may raise some red flags, but is expected to be fully recovered and ready to go for training camp.
Chandler is extremely athletic, can drive to his right and left, and has a good mid range game. He fell in love with the three at the beginning of last season, but took more of a dribble drive approach as the season progressed.
He will have to improve his three point range if he wants to break the 20 PPG barrier (he only shot 27 percent from distance last year). You can count on Wilson to give the team buckets, lets just hope he improves that jumper before the the season gets underway.
Azubuike is a mystery to most New Yorkers. He went undrafted, and came up through the D-League. He has posted modest, yet solid, numbers in his four years in the NBA. Over his career he averaged 10.6 points on 46 percent shooting.
He missed all but nine games last season because of a torn Patella Tendon, so all eyes will be on him to see if he has recovered and can help the team. Also, coming from Golden State where anything can happen in the Nellie Ball system, it will be interesting to see how he fairs with more consistent playing time. If he does come back 100 percent, I could see him getting moderate playing time, possibly 20-25 minutes a game, but chances are his numbers will stay about the same.
Kelenna can be a prolific scorer, and has the ability to explode for bunches of points at any time. His one game against the Knicks last year, he went 20-5-5. His career high in points was 33 against the Clippers in ‘07.
Andy was brought in for two reasons. One, he can shoot lights out. Unfortunately, he did struggle with his shot in Summer League (27 percent from beyond the arc). Give him time to get used to the NBA three-point line, and you can see him being a Kyle Korver type player a few years down the line.
The second reason the Knicks selected him is because he is a natural born leader. Now, he won’t be the leader of this team (like he was at Syracuse), but because he knows how to lead and seems to be a level-headed person, he will be a good teammate. He will understand what his roll on the team is—go out there, hit a few shots, and give other players some time to rest.
Don’t expect to see Rautins much this season, as he will be playing mostly garbage time when the Knicks are getting blown out, or (hopefully) are blowing someone else out. His numbers will be low, probably two or four points a game.
In his first full season of NBA basketball, Gallo proved himself to be one of the most dangerous shooters in the league. He was second in three-pointers made in the NBA, and showed he can come up clutch in big situations. More importantly, he also showed that he can be a go to guy, has a multifaceted game, and is not scared to guard the big names around the league. His 15.1 PPG should rise to about 20 PPG, and hopefully his rebounding numbers will go up as well.
You can count on Gallo to be a leader on this team, even though he is only in his third year. He is a fan favorite, his teammates love him, and can only improve from last year. I think we all expect great things out of him this year, and in the future.
As explosive as Bill “Sky” Walker was last year, he will be even more so this year. Word on the street (well, in the media really) is that he has gone and lost about 27 pounds, and will drop a few more by the beginning of the season. You can’t help but be excited, his highlight reel will be epic.
In 27 games with the Knicks last season, he averaged 11.9 points in 28 MPG. I would like to see his rebounding numbers go up, lord knows he can jump high enough to grab a bunch of boards.
It will come down to how badly he wants it. He will be one of the first options off the bench, will play big minutes, and throw down huge dunks. He will be a big part of the rotation throughout the season.
After having a very impressive Summer League debut, Landry has most definitely earned his spot on the Knicks. He can score, he can rebound, and he plays solid defense. He won’t get major minutes, but probably will get more than the other rookies, Rautins and Jerome Jordan.
Because his minutes will be very limited (just the nature of the D’Antoni system), his number will not be great. But, he is a smart player, and the Knicks (players and coaching staff alike) will appreciate his game.
After a few years of meaningful playing time, Landry will find himself as a rotational roll player, on a team somewhere, whether it be with the Knicks or not. If he continues his solid play during the regular season, I see him putting up five to seven points a game, and three or four rebounds to go with those.
(Note: Both Amar’e and Randolph are likely to start together, even though they both play the power forward position)
The best, and most dominant, player the Knicks have had since Patrick Ewing. Let’s look at what Stoudemire brings to the table:
21.4 PPG and a 54.4 FG percentage (career avg)
8.9 RPG (career avg)
Five All-Star selections
One All-NBA First Team
Three All-NBA Second Team
2002 Rookie of the Year
He is a force to be reckoned with on the offensive end. His defense is lacking, and his rebounding should be higher than it is. That being said, we all know what Amar’e can do. We all know what to expect of him.
The key piece in the David Lee sign and trade, Anthony Randolph is 6’10”, 210lbs., athletic freak with a good game and a monstrous upside for improvement. The best part, he only turned 21 years old the other day. At such a young age, Randolph has put up good numbers, and is considered to be a rising star in the league by many.
Last season, for whatever reason, Coach Don Nelson kept him on the bench a lot more than he should have. I expect with more playing time, Randolph will put up bigger numbers in New York. 15 PPG, 7-8 RBG, and two BPG should be reasonable expectations. Don’t be surprised, though, if his numbers are even higher than that.
To truly reach his potential, he will need to bulk up. 210lbs on a 6’10” frame is too skinny. He isn’t really able to bang down low with centers and other, stronger, power forwards, and that causes him to rely on his jump shot too much, which needs improvement as well.
Good news is, he has good ball handling skills, has a silky-smooth game, and his head is in the right place. He is excited to play in New York, and we are all interested in seeing what he can do.
The Knicks finally got themselves a defensive minded center. The best thing Turiaf does is block shots. His offensive numbers will stay the same, expect 5+ points a game in about 20+ minutes a game. Also, Turiaf is a willing passer. He has averaged about two APG in the last two seasons, which is pretty good for a center.
Not much is known about the 7’1”, 270lb. center from St. Petersburg. The way to look at this signing is that it doesn’t hurt to have another big body taking up room in the middle. Also keep in mind that, in mother Russia, you don’t play basketball, basketball plays you. We will just have to wait and see how this plays out.
One word to describe Jerome Jordan—project. He will not see any playing time outside of a few garbage minutes, here and there. Don’t expect much of anything from him this season, he’s there to be developed.
WARNING—Do NOT expect a single thing from Curry. Nothing at all. If you do, you are a fool.
Eddy Curry’s value lies in his expiring contract. He will be used as trade bait, or the Knicks will keep him at the very end of the bench until he finally comes off the books after the season.