Team: New York Knicks
Last Year’s Record: 32-50 (5th, Atlantic Division)
Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni
Comings: Gabe Pruitt, Darko Milicic, Jordan Hill (No. 8), Toney Douglas (No. 29)
Goings: Chris Wilcox, Quentin Richardson, Mouhamed Sene
Blogger Thoughts – Mike Knickerbocker.net
“You would think that it would be easy to come up with expectations for a team that kept most of their roster from the year before. However I’m not exactly sure what to expect from the 2010 Knicks. The new additions are minor (Darko, Hill, Douglas, a slimmed Eddy Curry), but New York suffered from a lack of depth last year. So while it’s easy to see a repeat of last year (low-30s) they should in theory surpass that estimate. I guess this year’s team might answer the question: how many wins is a decent bench worth?”
Thoughts on the Nets
“The transition from New Jersey’s powerhouse teams of the first half of the decade seems to be complete. Although the team does have a pair of promising youngsters in Brook Lopez and Devin Harris, the departure of Vince Carter marks the end of any star power in the Izod Center. With Carter they only managed to win 34 games last year, so you have to imagine a considerable drop this year. The Nets best chance of meeting or surpassing last year’s total would be to get an unforeseen boost from one of their lackluster neophytes like Sean Williams, Yi Jianlian, or Chris Douglas-Roberts.”
Comparing the Starters:
Quick Disclaimer, I have no idea what I am doing when projecting this line-up, I am going based on what I have seen in the preseason mostly.
Starting PG – Chris Duhon (11.1 ppg, 7.2 apg, 12.27 PER) vs. Devin Harris (21.3 ppg, 6.9 apg, 21.65 PER):
Chris Duhon played an ungodly amount of minutes last year, averaging 36.8 minutes per game (39 per game at the all-star break). Duhon fits in the true point mold (turns over the ball waaay too much), but he can get a little shot happy (he is extremely streaky) every once in a while, and he averaged 8.6 shots per game, which seems high to me. His assist numbers also increased with the increase in minutes. He shot 39% from three and had a TrueShooting percentage 56.9%. All these numbers were career highs.
Nets – Despite Chris Duhon putting up career numbers in pretty much every category last year, those should be down because there is no way he will be playing 36 minutes a game next year. His numbers also seem a bit inflated due to the wide open system, a system the Nets will be using to some degree…Devin is a better scorer, a better ballhandler, and all around a better player.
Starting SG – Wilson Chandler (14.4 ppg, 2.1 apg, 12.93 PER) vs. Courtney Lee (8.4 ppg, 1.2 apg, 10.78 PER):
I could be way off on this, but I have no idea who else would start in this spot? Nate Robinson? Larry Hughes? Chandler started the second half last game as the starting SG, so we will go with that. Chandler has seen his PER rise each of his first two years in the league, and Hollinger think it will go up again. He finished 46th out of 63 small forwards in TS% last year. He doesn’t have the best handle either…a solid defender…
Even. Lee is by far the better defender, but Chandler is the better scorer. Notice I said scorer and not shooter. Chandler just has a knack for getting the ball in the basket. Lee is a better shooter, but as we have been saying for a while now, those numbers will probably go down with his increased minutes.
Starting SF – Al Harrington (20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 15.98 PER) vs. Jarvis Hayes (8.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 10.85 PER):
Al Harrington is a fantastic scorer who can run the floor very well. He was very loose with the ball though, and his Turnover Ratio was at an even 10. He is a pretty good shooter, who can shoot off of the catch very well. On defense, he is a little better than you would think he would be, but he could be even better by showing a little more effort on that end.
Knicks. This could be the one position that every other team wins during this little review thing that we are doing. Harrington is a much better scorer and passer than Hayes, plus he has a few inches on him as well. The one spot that Hayes may win is defense, just because Hayes is willing to outwork him on that end.
Starting PF – Jarred Jeffries (5.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 9.47 PER) vs. Yi Jianlian (8.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 10.98 PER):
Some of you may be surprised that Jefferies is right here, but he has been starting for the Knicks in the preseason and from what I have read, he is really impressing the coaching staff. His numbers weren’t great last year, only averaging 5.3 PPG in around 23 minutes per game. Like the rest of the front-court, Jeffries is a terrific offensive rebounder, in fact he led all small forwards in offensive rebound rate. It is funny, because he can’t grab a defensive rebound to save his life, he was 59th in defensive rebound rate. He was also a poor shooter around the basket, shooting only 52.6 percent close in.
Even. This is an interesting match-up because you got two PFs who claim to have added new pieces to their game. For Yi it is his inside/attacking the basket game. For Jeffries it is his outside game (he hit 3 threes against us, remember?). It is weird to see a PF with less RPG than Yi.
Starting C – David Lee (16.0 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 19.07 PER) vs. Brook Lopez (13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 17.94 PER):
Despite being undersized, David Lee is an offensive rebounding machine, and he has turned into one of the best centers in the East. He uses his speed effectively, and the Knicks open style really fit his game. He isn’t a good shooter from the outside, but he has been working on it, and he showed some glimpses of an improved shot against the Nets. Isn’t a good defender in the post because he is undersized, but he is a good at stopping the pick and roll because of his speed.
Nets. This is going to be a fun battle watch this year, and the one thing I was worried about was Brook handling Lee’s speed, but the funny thing is, Brook showed flashes of being able to run himself, beating Lee on a couple fast breaks in that first preseason game against them. On the inside Brook just can use his size to dominate Lee in the post. Brook has the body and the technique to keep the speedy Lee off of the glass.
The Knicks are pretty darn deep if you ask me. I mean they got Nate Robinson, an explosive scorer off the bench. They got Danilo Gallinari, who has a real silky smooth shot. They got Larry Hughes and Darko, two vets who fit will in D’Antoni’s system. Tony Douglass impresses the heck out of me, and I haven’t even mentioned lottery pick Jordan Hill yet…
Nets. Despite the Knicks being deep, the Nets are even deeper in my mind. They got Terrence Williams, CDR, Rafer Alston (say what you will about him, but he lead the Magic to the finals), Keyon Dooling (who everyone seems to forget about), Bobby Simmons (say what you will about him, but he can shoot), Josh Boone, and Tony Battie. All these guys can go in and make a positive mark on the game. Shoot, Sean Williams could go out there and have a crazy momentum shifting dunk or block. He usually doesn’t, but every once in a while, he does.