With the release of the 2016-17 season NBA schedule, here's a look at what figure to be some very key matchups for the new-look Knicks.
Oct. 25 -- visiting the Cleveland Cavaliers
The Knicks have the luxury of opening up their season against the defending champions. This may certainly be a steep order to start things off, but LeBron James always seems to bring out the best in Carmelo Anthony. Hopefully the Knicks star can rise to the level of the three-time NBA champion, if only for one evening. Starting off the season on the right foot for New York is crucial. A win would be nice, but just a very competitive effort would be a step in the right direction.
Nov. 4 -- visiting the Chicago Bulls
If there wasn't already plenty of past history between these two squads from over the course of time, this summer's activity will make the Knicks/Bulls an interesting matchup to watch right off the bat. After spending his entire career in Chicago, new Knick Derrick Rose won't have to wait very long to return to his roots. He's surely to be celebrated with a warm reception by the fans, as should Joakim Noah.
Nov. 9 -- hosting the Brooklyn Nets
This game will mark Jeremy Lin's return to MSG as a member of the Nets. Regardless of how much time passes, Lin will always be a fixture in The World's Most Famous Arena. There will be talk of what he accomplished, how he took the world by storm, how and why his Knicks tenure ended, etc. The fact that he now dons a Brooklyn uniform should only reignite this still relatively burning fire.
Dec. 2 -- hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves
With Noah in town, Kristaps Porrzingis is likely to play more of the four than five this season. Still, as the veteran rests or sits out due to potential injury, Porzingis could certainly still see some time at center over the course of the year. Regardless of where his general position will be, expect him to get some reps defending Karl-Anthony Towns when Minnesota comes to town. The match up between last season's two rookie studs was an entertaining one to see, so watching the pair continue to go at it after more growth should be even better.
Dec. 15 -- visiting the Golden State Warriors
New York hasn't been known to play the Stephen Curry-age Warriors competitively at all in recent years, but this game should still be an interesting watch for even the most casual NBA fans. It'll be the Knicks' first glance at the new-look Warriors featuring Kevin Durant. Even by mid-December, the season will be in swing long enough to see if the superstar's arrival has been making a positive impact on the 2015 NBA champions.
Dec. 25 -- hosting the Boston Celtics
With an improved roster, a new head coach, and an overall revived winning mentality, the Knicks are hoping for a return to relevancy as well. Being front and center while hosting a Christmas Day matchup on national television is a big step. It's proof that the league is taking note of New York's positive direction. The Knicks and Celtics both bolstered their rosters this summer, hopefully reviving what was a heated rivalry between the squads. Isaiah Thomas has always given Knickerbocker point guards fits, but perhaps the arrival of Rose will put an end to that.
Jan. 16 -- hosting the Atlanta Hawks
Al Horford may have gone to Beantown, but things will still be interesting when New York hosts the now Dwight Howard-led Hawks. Playing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (at home, no less) has become a refreshing and entertaining tradition for the Knicks. This should be a fun matinee.
Feb 25 -- hosting the Philadelphia 76ers
As the Knicks have aimed to rebuild and retool in their own way, the future in Philadelphia is looking as bright as ever. This not only marks the professional MSG debut of Ben Simmons, but could also be the Big Apple debut for the oft-injured young sensation, Joel Embiid.
March 20 -- visiting the Los Angles Clippers
Knicks-Clippers matchups aren't usually too meaningful, especially when one considers how poorly New York has performed in recent years. This LA squad has had the Knicks' number. Still, this will be a national game in the schedule on TNT. With a new look squad, hopefully the Knicks will have some momentum at this point in the season to put forth a respectable effort. Perhaps the playoff picture will be a hot topic of conversation as well. In any event, an opponent featuring stars like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is fun to watch as well.
The month of April
Out of six games in this shortened schedule month, the Knicks will be featured three times on national television when counting the one NBATV game. Of course, this could change, but it will be interesting to see if New York remains healthy and relevant all the way through this point in the regular season. It would be refreshing to see the playoffs represent a still brightly lit light at the end of the tunnel.