Last night I watched the Golden State Warrior’s ring ceremony, and went to bed with a vision. This vision that consumed my mind for most of the night was similar to what I saw on the screen, as the Warriors got handed their rings. But what took place in my mind differed from what took place in Oakland.
Instead of Draymond receiving a ring, it was Porzingis. Rather than Steph, my mind showed Frank Ntilikina. The fans wore orange and blue, not gold, and the banner rose to the iconic ceiling of MSG.
It was beautiful, I swear.
And I think that vision will come true. Not this year, not next year, and maybe not for a long time. But for the first time in a while, the Knicks have put together a decent, modern looking NBA team that is giving me hope.
After a very stressful, confusing, unpredictable offseason, the Knicks will put a team on the floor without Carmelo Anthony for the first time since 2010. Anthony, now in OKC, was replaced by the duo Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter. McDermott will become the fan favorite in New York, as most marginal white dudes who balled out in college tend to once they step foot in the Garden (ie. Jimmer, Ron Baker, etc). As for Kanter, the foreign big man looked good in preseason. Though the Knicks have an excess of big men, Kanter is a good piece who plays D, and offers some inside scoring.
Some more news on the bright side is the Knicks prized first round pick, Frank the French guy whose name will probably take me some time to learn how to pronounce. Alas, the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft has some serious promise. His physical attributes are great, along with his pick and roll play and ability to penetrate. The only challenge for the Knicks now, becomes to actually hold onto him, and not trade him the second things go south. Consistency has been the biggest issue for the Knicks, and they have a chance to develop a core duo of Frank and Porzingis going forward.
Perhaps the most overlooked plus side of the Knicks this year could be the coaching. Jeff Hornacek will finally be able to run his own plays, rather than the outdated offense that was Phil “New York’s Most Wanted” Jackson’s triangle offense. Today’s NBA game revolves around two main aspects: three point shooting, and ball movement. Now, the Knicks resemble a team that can be capable of that. Now that we don’t have a point guard who will casually skip games, or a star player notorious for lack of defense and ball stopping, the Knicks will have significantly less distractions.
So that’s the good news.
But don’t for one second be so foolish to think the New York Knickerbockers will enter a season without a series of concerns.
Of course we cannot forget that the Knicks are the proud owners of two of the three worst contracts that exist in the NBA. Joakim Noah, who is still serving a suspension that will sideline him for the first eleven games of the season, has three years left on his $72 million contract. The virtually useless big man in today’s NBA game is projected to come off the bench once he returns. Usually people with money like that don’t come off the bench, or get suspended, or shoot free throws like a grandma. Our other puzzling contract goes into the pocket of Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway is a good player, do not get that mixed up. But his journey back to the knicks is quite symbolic of the Knicks financial and trade decisions over the last few years. Though drafted by the Knicks, Hardaway was traded away for very little, then re-signed for very much.
But overall, the outlook is bright for the Knicks. I believe Porzingis will take the next step in his career. I think we will see the Knicks shoot more threes, showing the adjustment to the modern NBA style. Timmy will run the floor well, KP will take on the leadership role, Dougie will knock down some buckets, and some excitement is sure to come this year in New York.
So, here they are, my bold predictions for the season:
- Kristaps Porzingis will be an All-Star
- Frank Ntilikina will make the all-rookie second team.
- The Knicks will win 38 games, and make the playoffs as an 8 seed.
Tomorrow, the lights turn on for real, and hopefully the first step in the transition to a successful franchise will commence.