But Calderon's campaign wasn't exactly what anyone expected -- not that the Knicks' overall effort in general was what was initially expected anyway. Calderon, like many, didn't pick up the triangle offense seamlessly. The transition was tricky for all. What's more, nagging injuries not only kept him sidelined, but also seemingly still plagued him upon return to the court.
"I never could get 100 percent the way the season is," Calderon said recently. "It was a very tough season for me and I couldn’t play the way I wanted to. I needed time with the Achilles. I was thinking about myself. I want to play here a few more years." (New York Post, September 8).
Calderon -- who has two years remaining on his contract -- shot a career-worst 41.5 percent from the field, and his 4.7 assists per contest were tied for the second-lowest average of his career.
Everyone returning from last season's Knickerbocker squad desperately wants a mulligan. Exactly how long of a leash each individual (players and coaches included) receives remains to be seen. With that in mind, it seems logical to believe Calderon will be the team's starting point guard on opening night. His proven track record should warrant the opportunity to prove he can bounce back.
However, if Calderon fails to begin meeting expectations once again, one can expect rookie Jerian Grant to be right on his heels. The Notre Dame product is smart, crafty, and seemingly mature beyond his years. The youngster doesn't appear to be someone who's going to play and/or react erratically too often on the court. He makes good decisions. Grant has the ability to push the pace, with an extra pep in his step compared to Calderon. The 33-year-old is more of an orchestrator who likes to see things through and take his time offensively.
Hopefully, each of their respective styles can complement each other nicely when the Knicks hit the hardwood. Having said that, should Calderon under-perform, providing an uptempo guard like Grant with even more minutes won't be the worst thing in the world.
Calderon told The Post that he isn't worried about trade rumors and believes the Knicks are invested in him, but one would have to think Grant is the point guard of the future as New York builds a balanced squad and finally continues to develop younger talent.