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Having overhauled much of the 2015-16 roster, the Knicks have added copious amounts of talent to the roster and that effort has fans hopeful the team can finally cash in on their season ticket investments by hosting playoff games in the Spring of 2017.
Long gone are the days of Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire - replaced with the fire and energy that Joakim Noah is expected to bring nightly. Gone are the likes of Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith; replaced with the breathtaking power and finesse of Derrick Rose, who is ready to show the rest of the world that he's still one of the game's premier stars with the ball in his hands.
I reached out to the Knicks faithful on Twitter for a Q and A sessions and here's what's on their minds as we crawl toward training camp 2016-17…
First of all congrats on the new arrival JD! God Bless!
The Knicks are taking a big risk on Mindaugas Kuzminskas at the expense of Williams, who was productive for them and could thrive under Hornacek. I think they felt Lance Thomas gives them a more complete solution at the position in more minutes and Kuzminskas can fill in with moderate bench minutes. Can he bring them the offense that Williams did? We'll see. Williams was the only player on the team who could get them easy baskets consistently, but those should be filled by Derrick Rose. You couldn't risk losing your best "3 and D" player who shoots the corner three as well as Lance does (25-60 from both corners last year).
Absolutely. Unfortunately, it's the cost of doing business in New York as a high-priced player. This isn't just a media thing either, fans are equally boisterous about their disappointment in Carmelo and I can't blame them. He's had his moments here, but he's now on the other side of his best basketball.
What I love most about the Rose trade is that he can help take the scoring load off Melo in a big way. Melo doesn't have to carry that weight night over night for seven months. He and Rose can split the alpha duties, thus taking the pressure off Melo. Same holds true for Kristaps Porzingis. Melo has support now, but that support will heighten expectations for other aspects like defense (especially in transition) and rebounding. Fans won't let him take nights off completely, but his energy doesn't have to be 100 percent focused on trying to keep the game competitive himself.
I love this question. I think Ron Baker gets the longest look in vet camp, and we'll have more clarity on who the Knicks plan on inviting after summer league this week in Vegas. I want to see them aggressively pursue an athletic PG who thrives on athleticism and driving, who can be injected into the line up during a quiet stretch mid season and can take advantage of the opportunity with pure energy. I think of a guy like Will Cummings, who was waived by the Rockets last year in preseason and earned second team All D-League honors after a fantastic year with Rio Grande.
As far as the roster lineup goes, I think the one lineup that gets me most excited is playing KP at the 5 with Melo at the 4, rounded out by Rose, Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas. I think the Knicks can go smaller with Noah at the 5, Melo at the 4, Lee at the 3 and Brandon Jennings/Justin Holiday and Rose in the backcourt. I really think "The Kooz" Kuzminskas is an important piece here because he can play the 3 or 4 and pull people out to the perimeter. But I really envision that initial lineup being a big part of what they do, possibly with Noah and Melo in offensive/defensive switch situations. That's when they go small. I can't wait to see a front court of Noah/KP paired with Willy Hermangomez. That internal passing in the triangle will be so awesome to see.
I do. I think Holiday is a lost piece here, as perceived throw-ins generally are most of the time. Holiday, brother of Jrue Holiday, was PAC-10 Defensive Player of the Year, and while that is a ling time ago (he's 27) he's certainly an above average-caliber defender on the perimeter. He's not afraid to knock down shots either. The Knicks have done well, whether it's Lee, Kuzminskas and potentially Baker, to add knock down shooters.
Having players who are shot-ready will really help especially when Jennings and Rose attack with the drive. That's an element they've been lacking for years. I can count numerous times where the Knicks got a little action off the drive leading to a wide open look in a key situation from, say, Langston Galloway, where he just couldn't finish the play by making the shot. Those misses are back-breaking.
Hard situation to talk about for me because he doesn't play for the Knicks, so it's not my business to discuss.
Let's just say the red flags that he carried from Philly were alarmingly apparent here and leave it at that.
I think that's always a possibility. I think they will address the end of the roster after the Vegas Summer League and sign guys who they are high on. I'd like to see them commit to developing players past one year in Westchester- especially in the case of Travis Trice or Darion Atkins, who is playing with Golden State in Vegas. I like Chasson Randle, I think he can fit a need for them, but we'll see where they stand with him soon. I expect him to get a vet camp invite.
Great question. As is and healthy (Rose/Melo/KP play over 70 games) they will win at least 45 games. Does that put them in the top 4? Last year the Pacers won 45 games and were the 7 seed. Four teams won 48 games with the Miami Heat capturing the 3rd seed. We'll have to look at how the conference has shifted. Have the Pacers improved? Yes. Celtics? Yes. Hawks? Probably not. So when you look at the top, the Cavs, Raptors, Pacers are there with the Knicks, Celtics in that next wave.
The X-factor teams, for me, are the Pistons and the Wizards -- two dynamic rosters with a ton of talent. The Hawks, Heat, Hornets have taken steps back. Can the Bucks bounce back? How much better are the Magic? I'm fascinated by the East, but one thing is for sure if Rose,Melo and KP can play together 85 percent of the time they should be able to win 55 percent of the time.
Thanks for all the questions! I'll be doing more of these so please keep them coming. Send them to @ThomasCDee on Twitter.