New York Knicks: 30 Team Previews in 30 Days
Finished 29-53, third in Atlantic Division, 11th in Eastern Conference
Additions and Re-Signings
Amare Stoudemire via free agency, Kelenna Azubuike via trade, Anthony Randolph via trade, Ronny Turiaf via trade, Andy Rautins via draft, Timofey Mozgov via free agency, Jerome Jordan via trade, Roger Mason via free agency, Landry Fields via draft and Raymond Felton via free agency.
David Lee via trade, Tracy McGrady via free agency, Chris Duhon via free agency, Al Harrington via free agency, Eddie House via free agency and Sergio Rodriguez via free agency.
Over the past decade, the New York Knicks have been regarded as the laughing stock of the NBA. Season after season goes by and the Knicks somehow make a regrettable trade or signing that impacts them for the next few seasons. However, with Isiah Thomas out of the picture now, the Knicks finally may have a season to look forward to.
The Knicks might have missed out on their main target in LeBron James, but still made a big splash by signing All-Star power forward Amare Stoudemire. The five-time All-Star, and former Rookie of the Year is coming off of another impressive season where he averaged 23 points on 56% shooting, while grabbing nine rebounds in the process.
Amare also will re-unite with former Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni who molded Stoudemire into the star he is today. He can only be regarded as an offensive star due to the fact that Amare is not a solid rebounder or defender at all. Stoudemire has never averaged more than nine rebounds despite being the dominant post presence and being regarded as one of the most athletic players in the league.
There is little doubt that D'Antoni will not change any aspect of Amare's game considering that he runs nearly the same exact offensive and defensive system that he did with Phoenix. The only difference being Raymond Felton instead of Steve Nash, as Stoudemire's provider, and the plethora of three-point shooters that fail in comparison with D'Antoni's former Suns team.
Stoudemire has been considered a solid predecessor to David Lee who was traded away over the off season for a number of Golden State Warriors that included Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf. Lee doesn't possess the offensive game that Amare has, but he is a better rebounder by far and will be missed under the boards. The Knicks contain no strong rebounders at the moment with Amare and a developing Earl Barron as the commanders in the paint.
The Knicks drastically improved at the point guard spot replacing Chris Duhon with former Charlotte Bobcat Raymond Felton, who was acquired over the off-season. Felton has been a very stable player since joining the league five years ago. Felton has averaged double-digits in scoring over his entire career, and has put up 13 points and six assists.
Felton will need to drastically limit his turnovers if the Knicks want to become a playoff contender. It significantly dropped last season from 2.8 to 2.1, but will need to remain under three if he wants to be the point guard of the future for the New York Knicks. He isn't Steve Nash, but him and Stoudemire should co-exist very well as Felton develops.
The team made another underrated deal by acquiring former Spurs guard Roger Mason late in the summer. Like most of the Knicks, Mason is a three-point shooting specialist who can help spread the floor. He had a down season last year at only one three-pointer per game at 33%, but hit a career high two per game on 42% shooting when he received significant minutes.
Mason adds another threat behind the arc to go along with the already stacked roster of three-point shooters. Former first round pick Danillo Gallinari has begun to emerge as the shooting specialist the Knicks were hoping that he would pan out to be after a successful sophomore season, where he averaged over two three-pointers per game on 38% shooting, while netting 15 points in the process.
Gallo can become a little shot happy from beyond the arc, in times where he doesn't need to be, but lives by the mentality of shooters keep shooting. While it is a negative at times when he could hit one out of nine from the field, it is a huge positive for the future knowing that he has the confidence to take the big shot when it is needed. At only 22, Gallinari still has plenty of time to adjust to role of being the lead three-point shooter on this team.
The Knicks also received a number of developing players from the Warriors in Randolph and Azubuike. Randolph could come as the most valuable part of the trade as the Knicks need to fill the need of a reliable big man aside from Stoudemire. He has played two injury plagued seasons, but has shown in his short time that he can be a center for the future. In 33 games last season, the lanky seven footer averaged 12 points and six rebounds.
At 6'11" and 225 pounds, Randolph will definitely need to add some muscle if he wants a spot in the lineup as the starting center. His counterparts in Barron, Turiaf, and Russian import Timofey Mozgov will all be competing for the wide open race at center. Barron was the starting center at the end of the season last year for the Knicks and impressed with a number of double-double's, including a 17 point and 18 rebound outing in a win against the Boston Celtics.
The Knicks might not have got what they wanted in LeBron James, but they did acquire a team that is capable of competing. With talks of Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul joining the team looming over, the Knicks could become the newest powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. They need to learn to invest in the players they have now though rather than waiting for the players they want to fall into their lap.
The squad they have now is capable of a postseason run, but they'll need to wait a few more years and a few more acquisitions, before they can be recognized as a legitimate contender.
Projected Starting Lineup
This is part 20 in a 30-day series of previews for each NBA team for the upcoming 2010-2011 season. My profile contains the other teams that I have already previewed.
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