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NBA 2016-17 Team Previews – New York Knicks: Melo’s Menagerie

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

NBA 2016-17 Team Previews – New York Kicks: Melo’s Menagerie

To prepare our readers for the regular season SCS provides our NBA 2016-17 Team Previews.  Who will return to the playoffs? Which team will fall from grace and who will be the Cinderella team?

Get a complete break down of each team. Included in the profiles are:

  • Where the team finished 2015-16
  • Key 2015-16 stats
  • Future draft pick status
  • Current and future salary rank
  • Off Season Moves
  • 2017 Free Agents
  • Schedule, NBA League Pass and Win Projection Ranking
  • Team Overview entering season (Starting 5, reserves and notable injuries)
  • When each team will play the Houston Rockets
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Prediction

NBA 2016-17 Team Previews now looks at the evolving Atlantic Division. While two teams in the division look to burrow in the cellar two others look to build off successful seasons and the other rejoins the conversation. To wit, let’s look at the Derrick Rose self appointed ‘super team’ New York Knicks.

Oct 15, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek gestures from the sidelines against Boston Celtics during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Celtics won 119-107. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks:

2015-16 Record: 32 – 50

Playoffs:

Missed playoffs finished 13th in Eastern Conference

Points Per Game: 98.4 (27th)

Opponent Points Per Game:  101.1 (10th)

Pace: 93.4 (26th )

Offensive Rank: 104.6 (24th )

Defensive Rank:  107.6 (18th)

Three Point Rank:  34.6% (20th)

Rebounds: 44.4  (10th)

Assists: 20.5 (26th)

Steals: 5.7 (30th)

Blocks: 5.7 (9th)

Turnovers: 13.4 (7th)

Next: Future Positioning - draft, free agents

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) dribbles the ball during a game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Free Agents

Restricted:

Unrestricted:

Future Draft Picks

See Real GM for full details:

Incoming:

  • 2017 second round draft pick from Chicago Chicago’s 2017 2nd round pick to New York [Chicago-New York, 6/22/2016]
  • 2017 second round draft pick from Houston Houston’s 2017 2nd round pick to New York [Houston-New York, 2/19/2015]
  • 2019 second round draft picks from Cleveland and/or Houston and/or Orlando (two least favorable)

Outgoing:

  • 2017 second round draft pick to Utah or Philadelphia Utah will receive the second and third most favorable of Detroit’s 2017 2nd round pick, Golden State’s 2017 2nd round pick, New York’s 2017 2nd round pick (via Toronto) and Utah’s 2017 2nd round pick and Philadelphia will receive the most and least favorable of these four picks (via Utah) [Denver-Golden State-Utah, 7/10/2013; New York-Toronto, 7/10/2013; Toronto-Utah, 7/10/2014; Detroit-Oklahoma City-Utah, 2/19/2015; Philadelphia-Utah, 8/26/2016]
  • 2018 second round draft pick to Philadelphia (swap, LAC incoming)
  • 2019 second round draft pick to Philadelphia
  • 2020 second round draft pick to Philadelphia
  • 2021 second round draft pick to Philadelphia

Average Age of Team:  27.2 years

Next: Off Season Moves

Oct 19, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) reacts to a call during the second half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks

No picks

2016 Free Agents prior to July 1, 2016:

Restricted:

  • Cleanthony Early
  • Langston Galloway

Unrestricted:

  • Arron Afflalo
  • Lou Amundson
  • Kevin Seraphin
  • Lance Thomas
  • Sasha Vujacic
  • Derrick Williams

Moves made following July 1, 2016:

Incoming:

Note: Hernangomez and Kuzminskas come over from Spanish League where Porzingis played prior to joining Knicks as a rookie.

Exiting:

Re-upping:

Retires:

Unresolved:

  • Cleanthony Early
  • Lou Amundson
  • Kevin Seraphin

Next: Schedule, League Pass, Win Projection Rankings

Oct 10, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek (L) speaks to his players on the bench during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas over-under for wins: 38.5

Schedule strength:

As ranked by ESPN: 10th with 0.30 extra losses

The Knicks will enjoy a more or less neutral schedule. Their one four-in-five cluster is soft: In January, they go from Toronto to New York, have a day off, then play in Boston and New York back to back. The joys of East Coast city density.

Games versus Rockets:

  • Wednesday November 2nd at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, 7:30PM EST
  • Saturday December 31st at Toyota Center, Houston, TX, at 8PM EST

Zach Lowe NBA League Pass Rank: 5th

How many wrong pronunciations will Clyde use for Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Guillermo Hernangomez? Will he just give up after 15 games? How annoying will Sasha Vujacic be, just in general? What is the state of Kyle O’Quinn’s beard?

Watching the Knicks figure out how in the hell they want to play offense is a big enough storyline to sustain viewer interest over the first 20 games. Jeff Hornacek’s comments out of training camp have been inscrutable. They want to use the triangle, but maybe not as often, or not at all sometimes, and, hey, that spread pick-and-roll thingie everyone does seems to work really well!

The novelty of that dilemma will wear off, but if the Knicks stay healthy (stop laughing) and hang in the playoff race, they will be a fun watch all season. No one cooks from the triple-threat position like Anthony when he’s toying with dudes, and Porzingis is one of the most exciting players in the league — even more so when the Knicks shift him to center.

Next: Team Overview

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) celebrates with forward Carmelo Anthony (7) after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 130-103. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Committed Salary Entering Free Agency

2016:$101,975,298 -13th ranked

2017: $76,372,484 – 14th ranked

Team Salary Ranking as per Hoops Hype, and team salary overview also via Hoops Hype

Starting 5:

Point Guard: Derrick Rose – 16.4  points, 4.7 assists,  3.4 rebounds

Shooting Guard: Courtney Lee – 9.6 points,  1.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds

Small Forward: Carmelo Anthony – 21.8  points 4.2  assists, 7.7  rebounds

Power Forward:  – Kristaps Porzingis – 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds,  1.3 assists

Center:  Joakim Noah – 4.3 points, 8.8  rebounds, 1.3 assists

Reserves:

Guards: Brandon Jennings, Justin Holiday, Ron Baker

Wings: Lance Thomas, Sasha  Vujacic, Mindgaugas Kuzminskas, Maurice Ndour

Bigs: Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, Marshall Plumlee

Injury News:

  • none

All injury news as per rotoworld

Next: Strengths, Weaknesses, Prediction

Oct 19, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) has a laugh on the bench during the second half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

What do you get when you cross a rose, a unicorn, a melo fellow and a rowdy fellow and trap them in a triangle? Well, the New York Knicks are about to answer that question.

Strengths:

  • Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee were great defensive additions. I’m not sold they’ll be put in a position to utilize their best assets, but let’s revisit this question in the new year.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has the potential to be a special player. With Joakim Noah on site to help the unicorn develop on both ends of the court I’m excited to see what results Noah’s  tutelage produce.
  • Carmelo Anthony was everywhere in Rio where he set copious records for the US. If he can transfer the skills he so obviously has international to his home team it could change the narrative on how he has been viewed in the Association.

Weaknesses:

  • Clearly the Knicks have cornered the market on signing free agents who are the tail ends of their careers. That in itself isn’t an issue until you factor in their health history and the illogical mixture of players.
  • New York suffered greatly on the offensive end of the court in 2015-16 ranking 27th in points per game, 26th in pace and 24th offensively.
  • Last season the Knicks ranked in the middle defensively, Much of that was due to the slow pace the Knicks played. But the team didn’t demonstrate a propensity to do the little things especially through activity (30th in steals). Further, while Phil Jackson added some quality players who could excel if healthy the bench still lacks depth.

Prediction:

The addition of Joakim Noah offers a solid defender, great passing big man and without doubt the best sound bite in the business. Courtney Lee was an under rated signing as he’ll offer valuable defense and tangible offensive assets.

I’m still trying to get my head around how Rose and Melo will decide who has the ball in their hands and how this experiment will work.  By they time they split up the ball handling I’m also curious how many touches the unicorn Porzingis will get. The ideal scenario would find Noah initiating the offense, but the odds of that happening are slim to none.

More from Space City Scoop

With new head coach Jeff Hornacek at the helm he says the Knicks will run more. That in itself sounds great, but then I point you to the personnel and ask myself how the bodies of Noah, Anthony and Rose will withstand a fast pace. In fact move back up to the fourth picture, and you tell me Hornacek has his team invested in his vision. Sure doesn’t look like it.

That said the myriad of issues the Knicks suffered offensively lends itself to the need for copious tweaks. In fairness there are a bunch of new roster members I’m just not buying into the early hype surrounding the team being a contender.  Ask me again if the Knicks make it to April all healthy; I’m betting they don’t. If they do the roster offers plenty of playoff experience which could excel in the half court. The problem will be getting there.

Best case scenario finds the Knicks returning to the post season with a healthy squad and ideal opponent. Worst case finds several Knicks fighting the injury bug, Hornacek losing the team early, Porzingis not getting enough touches because the stars are fighting over who initiates the play. And disaster finds upcoming free agents Rose and Jennings dissolving into a battle of wills causing conflict on and off the court.

FanSided Affiliate Site:  Daily Knicks

Next: Cleveland Cavaliers Team Preview

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