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NBA 2015-16 Team Previews: New York Knicks – The Melo Rebuild

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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New York Knicks

Our NBA 2015-16 Team Previews continues with the Atlantic Division. Next up it’s time to break down the New York Knicks:

Record:  17-64, 15th in the Eastern Conference, 4th in Atlantic Division, Failed to make playoffs

Rank: Offense: 101.5 (5th)   Defense:103.1 (16th)  Differential/Net: plus +1.4 (13th) Pace: 98.3 (6th)

2014-15

Key Stats:

  • As per John Schuhmann the Knicks attempted a league high 35% of their shots from mid range (three times as many as Houston)
  • New York ranked last in NBA for drives per game and shots at the basket
  • Knicks ranked last in points per game and 29th in rebounding and free throw attempts

Off Season Moves

Key Areas Needing Addressing:

  • Offensive versatility with focus on increasing 3 point shooting and getting to the line
  • Better defensive rebounding to help create second chance points
  • Consistent effort

Draft:

Player Additions/Players Re-Signed:

Players Exiting:

2015-16

Core Players:  Jose Calderon, Lance Thomas  Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez

Key Reserves:

Derrick Williams, Cleanthony Early, Kristaps Porzingis 

Outlook

Rising Star:

Kristaps Porzingis 

I had him getting drafted by the Lakers (or top 4) because of his potential upside and last minute spotlight on him. Knicks fans will need to be patient, but it’s hard not to like his mindset and upside.

On The Bubble:   Phil Jackson/Derek Fisher: Though the party line is ownership and the fan base are willing to wait it’s hard to believe owner James Dolan will exercise patience since he’s never shown that attribute in the past. As much as the Knicks are destined for another lottery trip they’ve improved more than some of their fellow cellar dwellers. The concern is the lack of consistent team effort which falls on Fisher. Word is Jackson plans on getting more involved in practice this season so perhaps that will pay dividends.

Fisher didn’t help his cause last season as he never was able to integrate the triangle successfully (perhaps because the personnel was wrong to run it), but the fact his team didn’t give effort was disconcerting. Entering this season his hi-jinx with Matt Barnes (ex-wife) isn’t doing much to help his public persona.

X-Factor:  Carmelo Anthony remains an offensive juggernaut and one of the best pure shooters in the NBA. He may not be in the MVP conversation any longer, but ask teams around the league and it’s a sure bet he ranks high on many players list of most difficult covers. Afflalo and Lopez can help his cause, but Melo will need to exercise patience for at least one more season. In the interim Knicks fans will have to suffice with the Melo and porZINGis show this season.

Best Case:  The team either gets a feel for the triangle or they scrap it and focus on building chemistry and consistency. New York is unlikely to win enough games to get to the post season and they don’t have a first round pick having used it in the trade with Toronto to get Bargnani (ahhh, the gift that keeps on giving). Of note the Raptors get the less favorable pick between New York and Denver —  hence my somewhat very biased hope they both finish in the basement.

Jackson showcased guts and some savvy going with Porzingis and then finagling to obtain Grant , so I wouldn’t bet against him finding a way to turn a player into draft picks. In addition, unlike their Brooklyn rivals the Knicks are a storied franchise with the most famous building in the Association. Players will always consider New York (the Mecca) as a potential landing spot which points to a star player eventually choosing them in free agency.

Worst Case:   If Dolan gets impatient and sticks his nose in too deep patient efforts could get derailed thereby causing another reset.

Prediction:  For a team with 17 wins last season the Knicks only had one way to go on the ladder… up. They’ve made some decent strides this summer with the draft and via free agency. As for the surprise Porzingis pick  (if you read my mock draft I had him earmarked for either L.A. or New York, so not really that shocking) I see a bright future for him, but patience is the key.

My money is on Jackson finding a way to get draft picks again this season via a trade at the deadline or luring more free agents this off season to improve the squad in 2016-17. The situation definitely isn’t as bleak for the Knicks as it is for the Nets.

Games versus the Houston Rockets:

  • November 21st at Toyota Center in Houston
  • November 29th at Madison Square Garden in New York City

Fansided Affiliate Site:  Daily Knicks

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

Next: Rockets Preview

Next: SCS Complete Round Table Sessions

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