It's a new era in New York—again.
Following a failed two-year run with Jeff Hornacek at the helm, the New York Knicks handed former Memphis Grizzlies boss David Fizdale the keys to the franchise this summer in the hopes of injecting their organization with additional energy and on-court structure.
However, Fizdale has a daunting task ahead of him if he wants the Knicks to be relevant this season.
Not only is the roster still a major work in progress, but Kristaps Porzingis will remain sidelined into the regular season after suffering a torn ACL in February.
Here's a look at what to expect from the Knicks now that their 2018-19 schedule has been released.
Season Opener: Oct. 17 vs. Atlanta Hawks
Championship Odds: 200-1 (per OddsShark)
Full Schedule: Knicks PR on Twitter
Los Angeles Lakers: (Sunday, March 17, at 12 p.m. ET in New York)
LeBron James loves playing at Madison Square Garden.
He's averaged 28.2 points on 50.1 percent shooting from the field, including 40.5 percent on three-pointers, across 26 appearances as a visitor on the Knicks' home floor, and he added to his New York legend last year when he drilled a clutch step-back three from the left wing over Porzingis:
James also exchanged pleasantries with Enes Kanter after engaging in a brief kerfuffle with Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina.
"I don't care what you call yourself—King, Queen, Princess, whatever you are," Kanter said after James dubbed himself the king of New York in an Instagram caption (h/t the Los Angeles Times' Chuck Schilken). "You know what? We're going to fight, and nobody out there [is] going to punk us."
Also consider the showdown will mark James' first trip to New York as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and it's safe to say MSG will be buzzing when two of the game's most storied franchises clash.
Brooklyn Nets: (Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. ET in Brooklyn)
No, the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets don't have a burgeoning rivalry.
At this stage in their respective rebuilds, though, the two sides can use matchups against one another as measuring sticks while the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors compete for top billing in the Atlantic Division.
That's hardly the sexiest sell. But considering both clubs have quality young building blocks and finished a game apart in the standings last season, the race will soon be on to see which team will emerge as the dominant force in the Big Apple.
Additionally, this season could serve as a showcase of sorts to prospective free agents, with the Knicks and Nets expected to spend big next summer when a host of big names, including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, hit the open market.
The Knicks' success will likely hinge on how quickly Porzingis heals.
And while all indications to this point have been positive, it sounds like he will miss at least the first two months of the season.
"The Knicks will have a better idea of a Porzingis timetable in September—which will be seven months since February's surgery," the New York Post's Marc Berman wrote. "Sources have indicated there's still a chance of Porzingis being back around Christmas."
Even if Porzingis is back before the calendar flips over to 2019, it's hard to envision the Knicks making a run at the playoffs. Their roster is still littered with question marks on the wing, and Fizdale figures to have his hands full trying to fix a defense that allowed a 23rd-ranked 108.4 points per 100 possessions last season, according to NBA.com.
On the bright side, former Kentucky swingman and NBA Summer League star Kevin Knox's arrival will give the Knicks a developmental cause to rally around, even if they don't add to the win column at a high clip.
Record Prediction: 32-50