Looking Forward: New York Knicks

Chandlernari

“Let’s get this out of the way.”

This is what the Knicks’ management thinks of the upcoming season, and likely what they were thinking at the beginning of last season too. It’s clear the Knicks are looking towards the summer of 2010, as they should be. Upon hearing today’s news that Nate Robinson’s one-year deal is essentially finalized and David Lee’s will soon be too, I figured it was time to get this preview out of the way.

If you watched any Knicks games last season, you no doubt noticed a significant change from the previous few seasons. With Donnie Walsh pulling the strings to dump the worst offenders of the dreadful Isiah era and Mike D’Antoni freeing his players to push the ball and get quick shots up, this team was infinitely more watchable. Sure, they still won only 32 games, but that’s what you get when you don’t have a real starting centre and you have Chris Duhon playing over 36 minutes a game. They were still the butt of some jokes on late-night TV, but their play was a huge, huge upgrade from what we were used to. At long last, the Knicks were fun.

Going into the off-season, there were questions about what would happen with Lee and Robinson. Both had just had phenomenal seasons and would likely want their deserved multi-year contracts. However, with the Knicks not wanting to commit potential LeBron James money to anyone and with few other teams in the free agent market this off-season, their situations lingered until… well, about now. Fortunately for Knicks fans, though, these two should give the team more of the same solid production next season, even if they don’t figure to be in the team’s long-term plans.

The only other free agent move Walsh even considered was signing Ramon Sessions. The young PG ended up signing a below-market-value deal with Minnesota, but would have been a big upgrade over Duhon at the point in NY. I can’t fault the GM for not pursuing him, though – anything that would jeopardize the 2010 financial flexibility Walsh has worked so hard to set up probably isn’t worth it. Knicks fans have suffered for too long, they deserve a shot to become an elite team. You have to stay with the plan. Even if the plan fails and they don’t land a megastar next summer, it’s worth the gamble. It just means that you’re going to have summers like this one, where the two biggest new faces are rookie Jordan Hill and Darko Milicic.

You know what to expect from the Knicks next season. They’ll play at a blistering pace and surprise more talented teams every once in a while. They’ll be a fun watch, but you’ll never consider them “relevant”. Without the circus surrounding the team at the early stages of the season this time around, and with some progression from young players Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, they could make a slight improvement on their record from last season. Still, we know this isn’t a playoff team and it isn’t a team that’s going to scare anybody. That’s okay for now, though. Maybe next year.

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7 Comments

Filed under Free Agency, Looking Forward, New York Knicks

7 responses to “Looking Forward: New York Knicks

  1. Brothersteve

    The Knicks did play better and were more fun to watch.

    Too bad they kept changing the roster to try and shed salary instead of going for wins. It looks like they are still doing it. It might not be fun to be playing well on the Knicks this season – it could get you traded!

  2. Why doesn’t EVERY bad team play at a fast pace? More numbers means more trade value for your players and bigger contracts for them because of it. Every free agent wants bigger stats and paychecks. It’s a no-brainer. If you’re gonna suck, push tempo and at least keep your players (and their agents) happy.

  3. If Gallinari is truly healthy this season, I do not share the opinion that sees the Knicks as not being improved this season.

    Playing Mike D’Antoni’s style of basketball … there is now enough talent on New York’s roster to compete night-in and night-out with the other Middle-of-the-Pack teams in the EC.

    This is going to be a very dangerous team this year.

  4. @Brothersteve – haha, yeah. Don’t think that’s true anymore, though – most of their contracts expire at the end of the year. Only contract worth shedding at this point is Eddy Curry and if they manage to trade his $11 mil 2010-2011 salary I will set myself on fire.

    @KneeJerk – Very good point. Someone should have told the Clippers this last season. So frustrating.

    @Khandor – You’re high on Gallinari, then? He did have a fantastic TS% last year, but I think the jury is out on the rest of his game. Not saying he won’t be successful, just need to see more. Definitely looking forward to seeing him play a hopefully injury-free season.

  5. I share Khandor’s views on the Knicks + Gallinari. I think a healthy Gallinari adds a good deal to their 32 win team and thus makes them a threat for a playoff spot.

    I don’t see Jordan Hill or Darko Milicic making much of an impact though.

  6. Vittorio De Zen

    I’m not pegging them for a playoff spot, but anything can happen in the crazy East.

  7. Pingback: Looking Forward Roundup « Vittorio De Zen's Fast Break

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