Although Amare Stoudemire will be the most famous Knick and probably have the best stats in 2010, the success of the team will come down to contributions from everybody else.
I think he could average something like 25-28 points this year, probably with 8-10 rebounds per game. But how his incredible scoring prowess helps him teammates could lead the Knicks to their long awaited playoff return.
Stoudemire should have defenders collapsing the paint and opening up the Knicks sharpshooters for lots of opportunities. Most importantly, Danilo Gallinari must show a consistent stroke early in the season to give the Knicks some kind of balanced inside and outside game.
If Gallo can do this, it will also open himself up to more opportunities to score off the dribble.
The Knicks are with more than one threat from beyond the arc as they acquired sharpshooters Roger Mason and Kelenna Azubuike in the offseason to compete for the shooting guard spot and take the three point opportunities opened up by Stoudemire.
In addition incumbent shooting guard Wilson Chandler has shown off an improved shot this preseason and is clearly working hard to keep his starting job.
It's amazing we've gone this long without talking about new point guard Raymond Felton who will be expected to lead the always potent Mike D'Antoni offense.
Felton is a courageous player who is undersized, but makes up for it with a great motor and overall tenacity. He is a streaky shooter, but should be counted on for some consistent production, something the Knicks have lacked at point guard for quite some time.
The defensive side of the ball is where D'Antoni coached teams usually are lacking and that has been no exception since he has come to New York.
This year there a few players the Knicks hope will improve that situation as well as hide some of the defensive liabilities of Stoudemire.
Most importantly is Anthony Randolph, who at 6'11" gives the Knicks a lengthy interior presence they have lacked for years. In addition, Randolph will be expected to guard everyone from point guards to centers throughout a game.
If Randolph can adapt to this role and provide some good help D, he will be the key to the Knicks defensive success.
Ronny Turiaf was also acquired to provide some defensive toughness in the interior. Turiaf lacks any real skill set offensively, but is very physical on the defensive end and will play big minutes at center this season. Turiaf needs to bring his non-stop intensity and give the Knicks a new mindset on the defensive end.
Another player who could help out in this is second year player Toney Douglas. Douglas will likely backup Felton and although he is of a similar stature he does not quite bring the same offensive skills Felton possesses.
Defensively however, Douglas' on ball defense has been raved about this preseason and he will no doubt be expected to bring that same defensive prowess off the bench in the regular season.
D'Antoni certainly has a lot of pieces on this team, all of course centered around Stoudemire. If he can put the proper pieces in place on the offensive and defensive end of the courts, there is no doubt that this team should make the playoffs this year.
For the first time in years, there is legitimate optimism in the mecca of basketball.
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