UA-59049186-1 NBA Team Preview: New York Knicks - Good if it Goes

NBA Team Preview: New York Knicks


Draft Picks: None

Key Acquisitions: PG. Derrick Rose, SG. Courtney Lee, C. Joakim Noah, PG. Brandon Jennings

Key Losses: PG. Jose Calderon, C. Ropin Lopez, SG. Arron Afflalo

Player Profiles

Projected Lineup

PG. Derrick Rose: 6’3, 190

  • Former league MVP whose career has been derailed by multiple injuries.
  • Has lost the quickness and burst that made him so special and now struggles to get into the paint at the rate he used to. He’s now being forced to rely more on a jump shot he doesn’t have.
  • Was never a great defender, but at his peak was above average with glimpses of good every now and then. Now he’s pretty bad often using that end to take plays off.

SG. Courtney Lee: 6’5, 200

  • 3 and D SG who should fit in perfectly with a lineup with 3 other players who need the ball and can attract attention from the defense.
  • His primary use on offense is to spot up and space the floor as a very good 3 point shooter but Lee is highly capable of scoring the basketball off the pass attacking close-outs.
  • Hard working perimeter defender that defends on the ball well.

SF. Carmelo Anthony: 6’8, 240

  • Declining offensive star that has been 1 of the best scorers of his time.
  • He’s starting to lose a step but his game was never predicated on athleticism so he’s still a very effective offensive player. He’s at his best in isolation situations on the elbows where he can play in triple threat position.
  • Average defender that has improved his effort on defense over the years.

PF. Kristaps Porzingis: 7’3, 240

  • Humongous big man that can do a multitude of things.
  • Offensively he hangs around at the 3 point line a little too much but he’s very much capable of making those shots. He can also score around the basket. With his size he needs to continue to grow and develop his post game.
  • Already a plus defender at a young age and he’s only going to get better. With his unique combination of mobility and size, he can become an even bigger force protecting the rim and on the glass.

C. Joakim Noah: 6’11, 232

  • Injury-prone center whose body might not be able to hold up anymore.
  • Has looked dreadful offensively the past 2 seasons. He can’t make jump shots or hit lay ups. When last healthy he was decent at the rim and could knock down mid-range shots when needed.
  • At his peak was an elite defender and perhaps 1 of the best defensive anchors I’ve ever seen play in the NBA. Injuries have robbed him of his elite mobility and lateral quickness.


PG. Brandon Jennings: 6’1, 169

  • Highly inefficient PG that can cripple an offense if he’s not hot.
  • He can handle the ball and make tough shots but lately his best offensive attribute has been his passing.
  • Can be pesky on defense but his thin frame and lack of strength can be a major issue at times against bigger guards or when teams attempt to play him at the 2.

C. Kyle O’Quinn: 6’10, 250

  • Reserve big man who was very effective with limited minutes last season. Averaged nearly 15 points, 12 rebounds, over 3 assist, 2 blocks, and a steal per 36 minutes with a 17 PER.
  • Offensively he’s a very good mid-range shooter who needs to stay in that range and stop venturing out to 3 point range. He only hit 22% of his 3s. He was a very productive role player who also moved the ball and made good passes.
  • O’Quinn is a high IQ basketball player and it shows on defense as he’s able to contribute and be very effective despite his lack of mobility. He mans the interior very well and offers adequate rim protection for a guy of his build.

SG. Justin Holiday: 6’6, 185

  • Undrafted 3 and D wing that plays with a chip on his shoulder.
  • The majority of his shots come from the 3-point line and he’s highly capable of hitting them.
  • Made it to the NBA off his defensive reputation from college and the brunt of his value on the floor is on that end. He’s long and can move his feet.

SF. Lance Thomas: 6’8, 225

  • Combo forward that has worked effortlessly to develop into a shot maker all over the court.
  • High IQ offensive player that can knock it down from 3 or mid-range. Knows when to shoot and when to put it on the floor.
  • Plays hard and competes on defense but just doesn’t have the tools to be overly effective as he’s caught between positions on that end. Was a college big man who’s size mandated he become a SF in the NBA.

SG. Sasha Vujacic: 6’7, 193

  • Journeymen wing whose career is hanging on by threads.
  • Still has some value as a 3 point shooter but he really struggles to do anything else on the floor.
  • Was never a great athlete to begin with and now that he’s getting up there in age it’ll be even tougher for him to defend at the NBA level.

PF. Lou Amundson: 6’9, 225

  • Porous offensive big that earns his keep on the offensive glass.
  • Wasn’t effective at all offensively last year only shooting 32% from the field.
  • Average defender that overcompensates for his deficiencies by working hard on the defensive end.

SF. Mindaugas Kuzminskas: 6’9, 216

  • Lithuanian combo forward taken by the Knicks in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft who’s finally coming over to the NBA.
  • According to scouts and his stats his best attribute is his shooting ability. I don’t think he’ll see much real NBA action unless some guys get hurt but if he does he can stretch the floor as a spot up shooter.
  • According to scouts he struggled to defend at his level of play overseas and the overwhelming sentiment is he doesn’t have the tools to handle NBA caliber athletes on the perimeter. May be forced into a stretch 4 role if he can’t cut it defensively on the wing.

SG. J.P. Tokoto: 6’6, 200

  • Young wing with elite physical profile: 6’10 wingspan and 40 inch vertical.
  • Doesn’t have the offensive skill set to be counted on as legitimate rotation guy. Can’t shoot the ball and doesn’t have a handle.
  • His defensive potential is why he was picked up and with his tools he should be able to defend on the ball no problem.



The Knicks enter the 2016/17 season as one of the league’s most intriguing teams and most complex to figure out. They’ve essentially scraped the roster from last year and brought in new pieces to compliment Melo and Porzingas. You’re going to hear this a lot about the Knicks but health is the biggest factor with this team. They’ve got a few guys who have been plagued by injury of late and we simply don’t know what to expect from them. Let’s examine the starting lineup. It features 3 new starters in Derick Rose at PG who the team traded for, Courtney Lee at SG who the team signed as a free agent, and Joakim Noah at center who they also signed as a free agent. They’ll pair with Melo and Porzingas who will start at the two forward spots. On paper it’s actually not a bad line up depending on what Rose and what Noah you get. Noah hasn’t been a good player in 2 years now so it’s tough to set expectations for him. But at his best he’s an elite defender and offensively he’s 1 of the best passing bigs around. He can really help move the ball and find teammates and his intensity is unmatched. Rose has been forced into a jump shooter now that he isn’t as quick as he used to be but he’s still shown flashes of ability to get into the paint and as he gets more comfortable he may be able to play at a high level again. Courtney Lee is the glue guy of the 5. Giving Noah’s passing ability he may have the ball least of anybody in the lineup and it’s a role he’s suited to play as a 3 and D specialist that will be called on to defend the opponent’s top perimeter scorer on most nights. As for the incumbent 2 stars Melo has to be more efficient with his scoring offensively while also continuing to be the playmaker he’s turned into over the past few years as his assist per game are up despite playing on less talented teams.


The biggest question mark about the Knicks are the bench. They pretty much used all their cap space on the starting lineup and wasn’t left with much to fill the roster. But when I take a closer look at the Knicks bench I think it’s ok as long as the nobody on the team gets hurt. It’s definitely not a great bench but if they can keep the rotation at 9 they can be fine. The problem is they have some injury prone players which almost assures that the Knicks will need more than just 9 guys to play. So the immediate bench isn’t the biggest problem for the Knicks it’s depth. They literally only have 9 guys on the entire team I feel comfortable playing in an NBA game and 2 of their starters have a chronic injury history. But as far as their top 4 players off the bench go if put in the right situations they can all do some good things. The 6th man on this team is going to be Brandon Jennings who can score and he can create for others which he will definitely have to as nobody else off the bench can create any offense for themselves. I like Kyle O’Quinn as a big off the bench. He does foul a lot so that could hurt a team like this that has no depth. Holiday’s 2 way ability will make him very valuable and make him a guy that if needed can be played in a pinch with the starters. And then you have Lance Thomas who is a limited player in terms of his talent but maximizes his ability.  



If there was a way to turn injuries off the way you can on NBA 2k then I’d predict the Knicks were going to make the playoffs. But we don’t live in video game land so I just don’t think the Knicks are going to stay healthy enough to finish top 8 in a Eastern Conference that is a lot better than it used to be. It’s not that they’re not talented enough at all I just can’t see them staying healthy enough. First let’s look at what happens if Noah gets hurt which is most likely. If Noah gets hurt that means O’Quinn becomes the starting center and if you play him any more than 24 minutes or so he’s a major risk to foul out or wear out from fatigue. So not only does your bench weaken from him moving into the lineup but you lessen how effective he is by putting more responsibility on his shoulders. That would also mean Amundson would have to actually play significant minutes and every minute he’s on the floor is time you’re playing 4 on 5. What about if Rose gets hurt? If Rose gets hurt that pushes Brandon Jennings into the starting lineup. There is nobody else on the roster that I trust to get meaningful minutes at the PG position during a NBA game after Rose and Jennings. If either of them gets hurt the Knicks are going to be screwed at backup PG. All I can say is that Knicks fan better pray that nobody on this team suffers a serious injury where they have to miss significant time because this roster isn’t at all built to withstand it.

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