The New York Knicks have a star player for the first time since they traded away Patrick Ewing in Amar'e Stoudemire. Stat commands double teams and is a decent passer from the post. He has explosive quickness and forces teams to foul him. He is a true 1st option.
The problem for the Knicks is everywhere else. They signed Raymond Felton to be their point guard. He is good, but not great. However, he is a huge improvement over Chris Duhon.
The Knicks are going to start Tim Mozgov of Russia at center. Mozgov is 7'1" and 250 pounds. He is athletic, but very raw. However, for the Knicks, having someone at center (who wants to play) who actually has the size of a center is a big plus.
The Knicks will have four players capable of blocking a shot in Stoudemire, Mozgov, Ronny Turiaf, and Anthony Randolph after not having any last year. This alone should improve their defense.
The biggest issue for the Knicks is who will provide their perimeter scoring. They would love to trade for Carmelo Anthony, but so far that is not an option. Danilo Gallinari is expected to provide perimeter scoring at the small forward position.
Gallinari looked promising last year. He plays hard and likes to take the clutch shot. He plays better defense than most give him credit for as he has excellent footwork which makes up for his lack of quickness. However, he tends to rush his jump shot. When he takes his time, he rarely misses. When he rushes, he rarely makes it. He has no low post game and has trouble taking players off the dribble. Unless he develops those parts of his game, he is basically a 6'11" jump shooter.
Equally problematic for the Knicks is the shooting guard position. Wilson Chandler or Toney Douglas will probably start, but each has holes in their games.
Chandler is a natural small forward, who can defend opposing shooting guards. He drives well and scores in the paint. However, he has been a poor jump shooter. He looked better in pre-season, but until he improves in games that count, it is tough to count on him to space the floor.
Douglas, on the other hand, is a good jump shooter. He is a good ball handler and tough defensively on the ball and in passing lanes. However, he is only 6'2" and is really a scoring point. Big guards will give him fits in the paint.
Right now the Knicks have two main problems: turnovers and rebounds. Despite much improved size, the Knicks have been badly out-rebounded in the pre-season. And, with only four returning players who will likely see playing time, turnovers have been a problem as the team gets to know each other.
In the grand scheme of things, the Knicks will likely get much better with turnovers going forward, but crashing the boards will likely be a problem unless Mozgov develops quickly.
So, the Knicks look like a 42-40 team with likely a seventh or eighth seed.