TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The Knicks are adjusting to a new reality and getting used to life in the post-Carmelo Anthony Era.
"It's definitely different," Knicks center Joakim Noah said Monday at Media Day. "Carmelo was just such a big part of the New York Knicks, he meant so much to the city. So it's definitely different not having him around."
Point guard Derrick Rose, Noah's former teammate with the Knicks and Chicago Bulls, is also gone -- to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And Phil Jackson was fired as team President in June, taking the much-maligned triangle offense with him.
So what do the Knicks expect in the post-Melo Era? Are the playoffs even possible?
"This is a great team," said new center Enes Kanter, who came over from the Thunder in the Anthony trade. "It's a young group of guys, I understand. But I feel like we have something special here. I saw last year I played against those guys but I know one thing, they play hard. Offensively, defensively, they play hard."
BovadaLV still lists the Knicks at 500/1 odds to win the NBA championship (Anthony and the Thunder moved to 12/1 from 25/1). The Knicks' win total remained at 30.5 games, per Bovada, but several Knicks believe the team can still make the postseason after missing the playoffs the last four years.
"A lot of guys are hungry," said Tim Hardaway, Jr., who signed with the Knicks on a four-year, $71-million deal during the offseason. "You can see it in open gym, in the weight room, guys are in here 7:30, 8 in the morning. "We're excited to work and make this push for the playoffs."
Anthony was the latest Eastern Conference star to head West, following other stars like Paul George (Thunder) and Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves). While LeBron James is still in Cleveland, and could soon be joined by his old running buddy Dwyane Wade, and Kyrie Irving has departed Cleveland for Boston, the rest of the East would appear to be wide open.
That should theoretically open things up for the Knicks to reach the postseason if they can jell under head coach Jeff Hornacek. But Kristaps Porzingis, who now becomes the face of the franchise, doesn't want to look at it that way.
"I think that's kind of a losing mentality if you're hoping for the conference to get worse so you can make the playoffs," he said. "No matter what's going on in the East or West we have to try to be the best team we can."
Knicks President Steve Mills isn't ready to make any playoff pronouncements just yet. Asked about the team's expectations, Mills said:
"It's nothing different than what we laid out since Scott came on board. We expect this to be a team that plays hard, has a defensive mindset. It's an opportunity for us to grow our young players, make sure they're developing, individually and as a group. We have a good group of veterans around that will be very important in the development of the younger players. We want to put on a team on the floor that's going to play hard. We're going to compete every time we get on the floor and it's a team New York will be proud to support."
Keep in mind the Knicks have their first-round pick in 2018, so if they end up back in the lottery, they will be in the mix for potential top draft picks Luca Doncic of Slovenia, Marvin Bagley III of Duke, Michael Porter, Jr. of Missouri, DeAndre Ayton of Arizona, and Mohamed Bamba of Texas.
"Given that the Knicks will still be at the mercy of the ping-pong ball, the opportunity to get a budding NBA star is realistic," ESPN's Fran Fraschilla told SNY.tv. "But anyone who has figured out the top five already is foolish."