Can the Knicks Ease New York’s Basketball Misery?
It has been a dark time in Madison Square Garden. Watching the Knicks over the past few years has been an excessively frustrating exercise. There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel with the recent hiring of both Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni. However, a coach and a GM don’t step on to the basketball court. Is there anywhere near enough talent or anywhere close to right type of players to prevent the Knicks from only winning 20-25 games?
The early word out of training camp has Eddy Curry sidelined with a bacteria infection, Jared Jeffries out for 2 months with a leg injury, Danillo Gallinari struggling with a back injury, and a general concern about how Stephon Marbury will handle potentially not being a starter.
The Knicks have depth and talent in the back court. There is no question about that. Chris Duhon was paid to be the starting point guard and has looked both steady and solid in camp. Jamal Crawford is a quality 2-guard, who can score in bunches and should flourish in D’Antoni’s system. Nate Robinson has been the MVP so far of training camp, drawing constant praise from his new head coach. He should provide solid depth at both guard spots. Marbury is likely going to have to accept coming off the bench and seeing major minutes as a wing player, not as the point guard. Obviously, Marbury’s attitude about this is something to keep an eye on. Mardy Collins and Anthony Roberson provide even more depth, although one of them is likely to either be cut or traded.
Quentin Richardson is hoping to revive his career with D’Antoni back as his head coach, and will start at small forward. When you start talking about the 4 and 5, you realize how thin the Knicks are up front. They better run and suceed in the transition game because they are going to have a tough time matching bigger teams up in the half-court. As of right now, David Lee and Zach Randolph will start in the front-court. Eddy Curry still needs to get up to speed in the system, and it remains to be seen how much he can contribute in the Knicks new up-tempo style. Wilson Chandler should be a valuable player off the bench and see major minutes, while Gallinari appears miles away from becoming a contributor. Malik Rose and Jerome James could see minutes if Curry can’t stay healthy.
The Knicks will be able to run and score points. They should have a little more competitive fire and heart than last season. Regardless, they are going to have a tough time getting stops and rebounds when it counts. There should be improvement from last season but as of today look like a 33-35-win team at best.