Friday , Oct , 27 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

The Top 5 things I expect from the NY Knicks this season

First, I would like to tell you what this column is all about. This is a place where you can get honest, objective and sometimes biased views on the New York Knicks. The last few years, it seems like the Knicks have been the punching bag of the basketball world. While some of it may seem deserved, considering the Knicks have the leagues highest payroll, not all of it is warranted. I have decided that it’s time to put a different spin on things.

The Top 5 things I expect from the NY Knicks this season

There have been plenty of season previews, analysis and opinions on every team in the NBA. I would just like to give you the Top 5 things I expect from the N.Y. Knicks this season:

5.         The Knicks will average over 100 pts a game. While defense was a soft spot for the Knicks last season, no one can question their talent and ability to score. With Isaiah Thomas’ new motion offense, you can expect to see the Knicks reaching the 100+ point plateau more than ever this season. Isaiah has these guys moving the ball in similar to the Knicks team that won the championship in 1970. I know this team is no where near the caliber of the 1970 championship team but everybody has to start some where.

4.         There will be some unhappy times. Everything will not smell of fresh roses this season. I know Marbury has been all smiles since Larry Brown left town and everybody has been saying the right things but the inevitable is the inevitable. Thanks to those that schedule MSG events, the Knicks begin the season with 10 of 17 games on the road. The NBA also gives the Knicks the dubious honor of facing some of the NBA’s most elite during this time. This includes Tim Duncan, Tracy Mcgrady and Lebron James twice, as well as Carmelo Anthony, Shaquille O’neal and Dwyane Wade. The Knicks have the toughest starting schedule in the league. The first month of the season will test the players toughness, willingness to commit to the team and sacrifice. There are going to be complaints about minutes and shots.

3.         The young players will shine. Channing Frye, Nate Robinson and David Lee are all poised to become excellent players for this Knicks squad. If the Knicks had a better record last year, Channing Frye could have been rookie of the year. He’s added 20 pounds of muscle and should be even stronger in the paint. This will mean stronger post moves and hopefully more boards. Add his smooth jumper and you have a solid player. Nate will have his swagger back. He’s been a little more under control in Isaiah’s motion offense. I expect him to get wide open shots and to change the tempo every time he enters the game. Personally, I also want him to defend his slam dunk title (this year try to lower the attempts on missed dunks, ok Nate). David Lee is the type of player every team needs. He doesn’t need the ball to be effective, he plays defense and he hustles. He will have consistent minutes this year and his game will flourish because of it.

2.         Jamal Crawford will be named 6th man of the year. If no one else benefited from Larry Brown being in NY, Jamal certainly did. Last season was a coming out party for Jamal Crawford. Crossovers at the top of key and pulling up for jumpers became his go to move. He also proved to that he could be counted on during clutch time. There were probably 10 games the Knicks won last year based on Jamal’s clutch shooting alone. He definitely proved to be the Knicks top player last season. He’s still coming off the bench due to Steve Francis starting, but I expect to see Jamal on the court late in the game. I think he will surpass his ppg, assist and steals total from last year. If he does that, there will be no way the league could deny him the 6th man award.

And the #1 thing to expect from the Knicks this season is………….

1.                  The Knicks will make the playoffs. No I’m not crazy. I’ll say it again. The Knicks will make the playoffs. The owners down to the players have too much to prove. Dolan needs to prove his money is well spent. Isaiah needs to prove that he knows how to build a team, even though he seems to mess up every other place he’s managed. The players need to prove that last year wasn’t their fault but Larry Brown’s fault. I know the Knicks are not perfect. I know they don’t play defense that well. However, there is too much talent on this team and the eastern conference is still weak. In a division that has the Nets, Sixers, Raptors and Celtics, I predict the Knicks will be 2nd in their division and squeeze into the 8th and maybe 7th spot in the playoffs.

There you have my Top 5 Things I Expect from the NY Knicks This Season. I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts and I look forward to your comments. See ya next time.