Learning new things about his team with each and every game this past month, Fisher has undoubtedly pondered many things and witnessed a varied number of recurring themes throughout the preseason. Continuously evident in Friday night's game, here are some of those very questions/themes:
Backup point guard: With Jose Calderon sidelined with an injury, Shane Larkin received his second start of the preseason Friday. Though he's young and has all the potential in the world, Larkin is seemingly playing himself out of the backup spot. He doesn't have the refined instincts necessary to run a team just yet, and lacks the court vision to do so. Larkin acts before he thinks, often running into traffic without anywhere to go or anyone to pass to. A key turnover as he was running upcourt late in Friday's game led to the loss.
Conversely, Pablo Prigioni has performed well when given consistent minutes. He knows how to run the floor, applies good ball pressure, and appears to be in the best shape of his three-year Knicks career. He continued his strong play with 6 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals (not to mention, a plus/minus of plus-7 compared to Larkin's minus-13). It's one thing to rest veterans early, but it's another to potentially sacrifice games because of it.
Where will Quincy Acy fall in the rotation? With Andrea Bargnani sidelined, Amar'e Stoudemire off to a slow start, and Jason Smith celebrating the birth of his daughter, Acy managed to shine in an early starting role this preseason.
A junkyard dog of sorts, Acy brings intensity, ball pressure, and high-octane energy whenever he takes the court. There's no doubt he could still stand to provide a substantial boost off the bench when everyone else is available, but should he continue to knock down that mid-range jumper, could he stand to steal minutes from the other three?
The Knicks need to let Carmelo Anthony cook: Much has been made of the triangle offense and the pressure it figures to take off Anthony. While a big focus may remain on how the forward aims to get his teammates involved as they spread the floor, he's still one of the best scorers in the game.
Preseason is a time of trial and error. Thus, it wasn't much of a priority to see Anthony pour in the points. Nevertheless, he needs touches in order to get going offensively. Utilizing the triangle should be about spreading the floor in order to take the defensive pressure off Anthony as he goes to work, much more so than simply not requiring the ball to be in his hands.
Who will be the Knicks' 15th man? The Knicks have 15 players with guaranteed contracts, but it should not be considered a guarantee that Travis Outlaw makes the roster. As the veteran has missed action due to nagging preseason injuries, Travis Wear has shown an early aptitude for the triangle offense. The young gun could be an asset on the floor, able to keep defenses honest and knock down the mid-range jumper. Much more of an outside shot to make the roster, even Langston Galloway has showed flashes of positive play by being an offensive fireball off the bench.
Something in Outlaw's favor is his reasonable expiring contract. Should he not be able to make an impact for New York on the court, he could still prove to be an asset in a potential future trade.