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NBA Preview: New York Knicks


Record:  33-49, 4th in Atlantic Division, 11th (tie) in Eastern Conference

Statistical Comparisons:


28th in assists
27th in steals
29th in blocks
29th  in turnovers
27th in opponent turnovers


16th in the league in scoring (97.5 ppg)
20th in opponent scoring (100.3 ppg)
21st (tie) in ppg differential (-2.9 ppg)
17th in field goal %  
14th in opponent field goal %
23rd in three-point %  
Excellent offensive rebounding team
Good defensive rebounding team

Significant Additions:  
Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, Wilson Chandler (R), Demetris Nichols (R)

Significant Subtractions:
Channing Frye, Steve Francis

Key Players

PG:  Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson
SG:   Jamaal Crawford, Quentin Richardson
SF:  Jared Jeffries, Renaldo Balkman
PF:  Zach Randolph, David Lee
C:  Eddy Curry, Jerome James

Comments:  I must confess that for years the Knicks have ranked high on my list of favorite previews.  They're just so entertaining in an "Oh my gosh can you believe this?" kind of way.  The fact that they now have one of our ex-players (and sometime troubled soul) adds the spicy sauce to the stenchilada that is this team.  If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results than Isiah Thomas is freakin' crazy.  But then we've known that for a while, I suppose.

Even with all of his ups and downs in Portland I am by no means anti-Zach Randolph.  In the right situation he could make a huge difference for a team.  This just doesn't feel like the right situation.  Let's examine the things the Knicks do well.  They are a phenomenal offensive rebounding team.  They made a dominant post player out of Eddy Curry by force-feeding him the ball.  So now they go out and get Zach Randolph who is an amazing offensive rebounder, also likes to be force-fed the ball, and flourishes in the post.  It's one thing to play to your strengths but flat out duplicating them to the point of redundancy doesn't seem smart.  This is doubly true when you figure that Zach's skills and Eddy's won't necessarily be additive.  Every time Zach touches the ball Eddy won't, and vice versa.  And how many offensive rebounds can you get?  What's more how many players can you leave under the rim trying to get them before the other team just fast breaks you to death?  And why is David Lee, one of the standout players last year, now relegated to the bench or a less suitable role on the floor?

Now let's look at the things the Knicks don't do as well.  They're a reasonable defensive team, not great.  They don't shoot accurately enough from deep to clear the middle of the floor for their slashers.  They're abysmal in all the in-between aspects of the game:  passing, teamwork, cohesiveness, protecting the ball.  They have no shot blocking.  Their big men are slow.  Which of those needs did they address in the off-season?  Zeeeee-ro.  In fact they probably made them worse.  (Keep in mind that even if you believe the rookies help they're going to need a couple years to cook and they're going to have to displace somebody in order to get playing time.)  

You could keep asking questions but it's almost a waste of time.  Will any of the guards pass?  No.  Will any of the guards shoot well?  No.  Will anybody be able to maximize their scoring potential?  No.  Will these players be able to work together?  No.  Will the most promising young players get enough of a role and playing time?  No.  Will somebody on the team look impressive nearly every game?  Yes.  Will that translate into consistent winning?  No.  Will the team ever stop acquiring expensive, questionable-attitude players whose main strengths are scoring and name value?  Apparently not.  How do the Knicks expect to get better?   God only knows.  Should I just cut and paste this preview for use again next year?  It would probably save me a lot of time.

The Knicks are far from the worst team in the league but 33 wins isn't anything to write home about and that -2.9 ppg deficit they run is inexcusable with all the talent they have.  Basically they're the equivalent of your beer league softball team that just goes out and gets nine fat power hitters to throw on the field.  Individually they look impressive.  Together?  Not so much.  And that looks to be the story again this year.  Given all of the time, energy, and vocal support we hear out of Knicks fans year after year they probably deserve better.

--Dave (