Written by Nicholas McGowan
The New York Knicks open up the season at home on October 29 against the finally healthy Chicago Bulls. The team then travels to Cleveland for the nationally broadcasted homecoming of Lebron James. Expect the Knicks to be 0-2. We then play the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards, maybe we could be 2-2, but I’m expecting a 1-3 start to the season. It will be interesting to see how the new Knicks will look against 4 probable playoff teams to begin the season. What I’m really looking for in the games against Chicago and Cleveland is for the Knicks to be competitive, show some indication that we can stay with these powerhouse teams. Regardless it should be an interesting start to the season, and to help you get ready here are some links to help you get to know this season’s Knicks a little bit better.
J.R. Smith it struggling with the triangle to say the least.
Cleanthony Early landed himself a shoe deal with Li Ning.
Phil Jackson gave his thoughts on our roster.
The Knicks made two random signings… they won’t be with us for long.
Shumpert looks good so far, too bad we won’t sign him.
At least we get to keep Shane Larkin for an extra year.
A second round pick, and the right to swap second rounders earned us Arnett Moultrie
The Knicks and 76ers were just as bad as the Syracuse Orange when it came to shooting threes.
And finally, Amar’e decides to take red wine baths to stay healty in last year of his contract
Now that you are caught up with all the Knicks news, it’s time for some season predictions. I believe ESPN has us pegged for around 37 wins, while most Vegas places have us at around 41. Now personally I think we are good for around 45, a slightly above .500 basketball club would be a good start to Fisher’s career as a coach. When looking at the eastern conference over the past few years, there are teams that sneak into the playoffs that are either at .500 or below it. Knowing that the Cavaliers will certainly be in the playoffs and predicting that we will make it, that leaves two teams from last year who will need to drop out. The two teams that come immediately to mind are the Indiana Pacers and the Brooklyn Nets. The Pacers lost Lance Stephenson in free agency to the Charlotte Hornets and they lost Paul George to a gruesome leg injury in Vegas over the summer. The Pacers also need to find out what has happened to Roy Hibbert, perhaps it was Andrew Bynum or perhaps it was just mental weakness. Whatever it was, he needs to have a big season with both George and Stephenson gone. The Nets only seem to get older every year and were quick to replace Jason Kidd. While Lionel Hollins might be a good coach, I don’t think he can elevate the team like Kidd did. Kidd was able to help Deron Williams, Lionel Hollins is not known for his ability to guide point guards. The Nets will also have to battle through whatever injury Brook Lopez/Deron Williams comes down with. By the way, they also just traded away a 2019 second rounder to 76ers.
This is how I see the east stacking up:
1. Cleveland Cavs: Lebron, K-Love, and Kyrie? Seems like a video game
2. Chicago Bulls: This team can win without D-Rose, but he looks healthy and fast so far
3. Toronto Raptors: Solid young team that is gaining experience
4. Charlotte Hornets: Stephenson makes this a solid staring five
5. Miami Heat: Chris Bosh might return to his dominating form, but Wade’s knees won’t
6. Washington Wizards: Eyes will be on Beal as he returns from his injury
7. Atlanta Hawks: Only if Al Horford is healthy, he’s like the D-Rose of the south
8. New York Knicks: In Phil we trust
9. Indiana Pacers: Let’s see how good of a coach Vogel is
10. Detroit Pistons: Not enough minutes to go around, Van Gundy will be a plus though
11.Brooklyn Nets: Over/under for amount of games Lopez/Williams plays is around 50
12.Orlando Magic: Young talent continues to improve
13. Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo would be Smart to jump ship
14. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker for rookie of the year? He’s got my vote
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Injuries to MCW, Noel needs to find his footing, too inexperienced to win
Now we might not make it out of the first round of the playoffs but at least we make the playoffs. It should be a fun series to watch in the Eastern Conference Finals when the Cavs battle the Bulls, I’ll take Bulls in 7.
Breaking down the West is a little harder. They have several teams that will be competing for playoffs sports down the stretch and put how good the west is in perspective, the Suns who finished 48-34, didn’t make the playoffs in the West but would have been tied for third place in the East.
Here’s the west:
1. Los Angeles Clippers: Will have the best record in the West, but I don’t trust them in the playoffs just yet
2. San Antonio Spurs: Pop will rest his guys more as they get older
3. Golden State Warriors: Splash Brothers look really good this preseason
4. Portland Trail Blazers: Lillard and Aldridge
5. Oklahoma City Thunder: Durant injury hurts them in standings but Westbrook is good enough to carry them for the time being
6. Dallas Mavericks: Chandler Parsons was a great signing but they have Raymond Felton
7. Phoenix Suns: Three top guards is just unfair in this era, perhaps we could trade for Ennis?
8. Houston Rockets: Poor off season moves result in barely making the playoffs
9. Memphis Grizzlies: Barely miss the playoffs but they are heading towards a rebuild as the west gets younger
10. New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis makes his case for MVP? A little early for that but he is only getting better
11. Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe is healthy but how for how many games?
12. Denver Nuggets: Injuries might pile up again and they don’t have a star player like those teams in the playoffs
13. Sacramento Kings: They are Kings after all, at least Cousins is working on his temper
14. Minnesota Timberwolves: Love the nickname “Bounce Brothers”
15. Utah Jazz: barely any talent, still better than the 76ers though
The Western Conference will certainly be entertaining throughout the playoffs but the finals should come down to Thunder and Spurs again. I’ve got the Thunder this time around as its got to be bothering Durant that he gets so close yet keeps coming up short.
The Finals will be interesting series of fights, a battle of Adidas vs. Nike, a battle of Noah vs. Ibaka, and the main event, Rose vs. Durant. Now I really like Durant to win several rings during his career but I don’t think he gets by the Bulls. Ibaka can’t guard both Gasol and Noah in the paint and how I wonder how many questions will be asked about Westbroook’s shot totals. All in all it would be a fun series to watch but I have got to take the Bulls in 6.