Monday, October 20, 2008

New York Knicks 2008-2009 Season Preview

First off my predictions

38 wins possible 8th seed in the playoffs if they get lucky. I know I say this every year BUT they have had the talent to finish with 38 wins and now they have a real coach too. The (L)Eastern Conference has gotten better but a team under .500 will still be able to make the post season (and get swept by the Celtics).

Scoring Leader - Jamal Crawford
Assists Leader - Chris Duhon
Rebounding Leader - David Lee
Blocks Leader - David Lee
Steals Leader - Chris Duhon

Player by Player Breakdown

Wilson Chandler - 6'8, 220 - Last year's first round pick has a tremendous upside that was not shown last season because of "coach" Thomas unfairly benching him. He seemingly can dunk it on anyone and has a nice baby jumper as well. With improvement in his defense he will become a solid NBA player that will hang around this league and seems to thrive in the 7 second or less offense. There's nothing but upside with this kid......stay tuned.

Mardy Collins - 6'6, 220 - Has tremendous talent on the defensive side of the ball, yes I meant that, tremendous talent. The only problem with Collins is that he lacks confidence. He plays ball while looking over his shoulder and second-guessing his every move. To his defense he has been playing under a clueless coach and has never been in the regular rotation having only played in 98 games. Up to this point of his career he is only known for one thing and that's taking a sucker punch from Carmelo "Hit and Run" Anthony.

Jamal Crawford - 6'5, 200 - The best pure shooter on this team (that is unless Allan Houston can't complete his comeback) and flat out the best scorer. I've been saying the same thing about him for years. I feel like a broken record that he has to put on some more weight and improve his defense. Coming into last season he definitely bulked up and hustled more on defense but the season was a lost cause considering all the distractions, so improvements were overlooked by many beat writers (or "experts") out there.

Eddy Curry - 6'11, 285 - I've had my fun in the past poking fun at Curry for his weight, his lack of hustle and desire on the court. Also, how he is 6'11", listed as 285 and averages .49 blocks per game for his entire seven year career. However, if you are one of those Knick fans that don't want to wait two years to win some games we are going to need Curry to get into some sort of shape and play back up center to "Double" Lee. The only problem is Curry was out of camp with a bacterial infection, so to nobody's surprise he is out of shape early on in the season. If you've paid attention to Eddy Curry's horrible Knick career you know he was coming into camp out of shape anyway, bacterial infection or not. It looks like Curry is going to have a nice seat next to Jerome James on the bench because he is probably not going to be in the rotation.....FINALLY!!

Chris Duhon - 6'1, 185 - In back up minutes last season Duhon averaged five assists per game. For the Knicks last season the team leader in assists per game was their 2 guard Jamal Crawford and he averaged......five assists per game. Clearly this is an upgrade over last season's "starting" point guard in "Mr. Me" Marbury who averaged 4.7 assists per game. Duhon is a very good pass-first point guard, something the Knicks haven't had in years. However, take it easy on the Steve Nash comparisons. Duhon does not have the talent to win consecutive MVP awards (but of course I would love if he proved me wrong) but then again not many players do have the talent to win consecutive MVP awards.

Patrick Ewing Jr. - 6'8, 240 - The knock on Ewing Jr. is that he didn't have a stellar college career, but who cares. At least he went to college and received that experience and mental development. He is the same age as Eddy Curry and Curry has been in the league for seven years, and never has lived up to the hype. He is in the rare win/win situation in New York. He is the son of the greatest Knick of all time and they got him for Frederic Wies who has never played a game on this side of the Atlantic.

Danilo Gallinari - 6'8, 210 - The first round (tooth) pick of the Knicks is hurt right now (sounds like a Knicks first round pick to me). So while I live in New York I never get to see (or would care to see) any European games, I honestly have no idea how good he is or how good he can be. The only action I have seen him in is in the Summer League but his jumper looks like it is on point. Rumor has it he might start off in the D-League as we'll so stay tuned....

Dan Grunfeld - Uh, no.

Allan Houston - 6'6, 205 - The Knick great is trying to come back so he can go out on his own terms but is now sidelined with a hurt quad. Hopefully he makes the squad, considering he hasn't played in a few years at all. His main reason for coming back is that he does not want to have his knee injuries force him out. I hope he makes the team, but who's roster spot is he going to take? How wierd would it be if Houston made the team and he was wearing number 14 and not his old number 20?

Jerome James - 7'1, 285 - What can I say about him? I respect the hell out of the guy, I know I shouldn't, but I can not help it. After researching James' life and career I can't help but respect the guy who played Isiah Thomas. Check this out and see why:

Jared Jeffries - 6'11, 240 - One of the worst free agent pick ups in team history was apparently playing well in training camp and was closing in on a starting job. However, now Jeffries is out with a broken leg and we won't be able to see how well Jeffries supposedly fits in D'Antoni's system for at least six weeks. I have been real critical of Jeffries in the past for his terrible play and if anybody has paid attention to the Knicks over his tenure here you would see that this is rightfully so. In his entire Knick career he has looked lost out there but then again Isiah Thomas was the "coach". He was supposed to be a shut down defender in Washington but somehow he comes to New York and players routinely blow by him (but then again Isiah Thomas was his "coach"). I'm willing to give Jeffries a shot at redemption now that he has (one more time) a real coach. It's just too bad he broke his leg and we won't be able to see it for a while.

David Lee - 6'9, 240 - Apparently "Double" Lee will finally get starting minutes which he has more than earned - with last year averaging 10.8 ppg and 8.9 rpg. D-Lee has the ability to win a rebounding title sometime down the road if he stays healthy and stays in the lineup. While he still needs some work on his jumper, Lee has the drive and the desire to improve (that's not a trait you come across easily in today's NBA). Mark my words, Lee will average at least 15 and 12 for the season if he gets his 35-40 minutes a game and his jumper will improve. Can the Knicks just lock this guy up long term already? You aren't going to attract a great free agent in 2010 if you don't have a solid rebounder, hustler and defender on the team already.

Stephon Marbury - 6'2, 205 - I'm not going to waste my valuable time on this bum again so to get my take on Stephon "Me" Marbury click this link and check it out:

Zach Randolph - 6'9, 260 - Owed a tremendous amount of money on his bloated contract. His contract extends past 2010 so he is still on the block even though an apparent trade to Memphis fell through recently. I like the fact that Mr. Walsh isn't rushing a trade just to ship him out of town, because who knows what big name player may get injured before February's trade deadline. Obviously, an injury will make a team more desperate and maybe the Knicks can pick up some picks or expiring contracts for Randolph. Overall, you can say what you want about "Mr. Doubles" but he'll go out there and get his double doubles whether you like him or not. He has been solid in the preseason and D'Antoni has done nothing but rave about him.

Quentin Richardson - 6'6, 235 - Q-Rich had his second best statistical season under D'Antoni when he was with the Phoenix Suns back in the '04-'05 season. He had his highest 3-point percentage of his career that season at .358 %. The problem with Richardson has never been talent or desire, it has been his inability to stay healthy. If he can stay healthy, look for Richardson to bounce back with a solid year back in the "7 second or less" system.

Anthony Roberson - 6'2, 180 - Who? Yeah!!

Nate Robinson - 5'9, 180 - "Nasty" Nate should flourish in this system and it should be fun to watch, because he was born for this type of offense. Robinson finally has a coach that won't stab him in his back and unfairly bench him. Although he probably will never be a "pure" point guard since he is a munchkin, but he can still be an effective player off the bench to instill energy in the Knicks the way a young John Starks used to.

Malik Rose - 6'7, 255 - The classy veteran can still go at it on the boards and defensive side but his age will keep him out of the regular rotation - as usual. It'll still be fun to see Rose mentoring the young guys, basically being an extra assistant coach on the bench.

Final Rant - There has been one curious move made by the Knicks organization since Donnie Walsh has taken over and that is the trade of Renaldo Balkman. They traded Balkman for 2 scrubs on Dallas and then cut the scrubs? Something had to have happend behind closed doors to just cut ties with Renaldo. Balkman has done nothing but produce when he has had a chance and I know he doesn't have the talent to be an All Star. However, his hustle and "his never say die" attitude will be missed by many Knick fans and I wish him well.


Blogger Mike Dillon said...

I really like Duhon at the point, he is surroned by a bunch of scores in Randolph, Crawford and your favorite Knick Stephon Marbury.. I think Duhon will avg 6-7 assist this year at the point guard position while playing solid deffense. he maybe the change of pace New York needs

10/20/2008 1:30 PM  

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