Record: 31 – 51 (12th in the East)
Season Ended: No Playoffs
Frank Ntilikina (PG), Damyean Dotson (SG)
Tim Hardaway, Jr (SG), Ramon Sessions (PG), Michael Beasley (SF/PF)
Enes Kanter (PF/C), Doug McDermott (SF/PF)
Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, and Justin Holiday
Projected Starters (Last year averages)
PG: Ramon Sessions (6 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast)
SG: Tim Hardaway, Jr. (15 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast)
SF: Doug McDermott (9 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast)
PF: Kristaps Porzingis (18 pts, 7 reb, 2 blk)
C: Enes Kanter (14 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast)
Frank Ntilikina (PG), Courtney Lee (SG), Michael Beasley (SF/PF), Kyle O’Quinn (PF/C), Willy Hernangomez (PF/C)
Major Story lines
Carmelo Traded – Another team, another corner stone that is no longer there. Carmelo was traded just before the preseason to the OKC Thunder and so his ride in NY is over. Kristaps Porzingis is immediately elevated to the face of the franchise and with the drafting of French PG Frank Ntilikina and the signing of SG Tim Hardaway, Jr. the team has a solid young core to build around. The trade brought over Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter who figure to be key contributors for this team right away as well.
Is Frank Ntilikina a bust??? – All summer, with Dennis Smith, Jr. lighting up your social media timelines with highlight reel dunks, the talk on Frank Ntilikina (who did not participate in the summer league) was that the Knicks messed up by drafting him. There were a few factors working against Frank. We’ve addressed the first factor which is Dennis Smith, Jr. being REALLY good. The second is that we hadn’t gotten to see Frank yet and his European stats looked pretty weak if you don’t understand how the game is played there. And finally, it’s NY. You don’t go to NY and expect to be praised without putting in the work first. Frank seems to have embraced this and only time will tell if he ends up living up to his draft position. You should know where I stand.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. Signing – The Knicks swung for the fences to land Hardaway by signing him to a 4 year, $71 Million offer sheet. The deal was a bit too rich for the Hawks blood (along with the weird clauses the Knicks threw in) and they let him go back to NY. Hardaway will look to build upon last year’s success as the main scoring option outside of Porzingis on this Knicks team.
Mike Predictions (39 – 43) (8th in the East)
- Knicks make the Playoffs – There is no doubt the East is top heavy and that the conference is nowhere near the caliber of the West so since every team in the East gets 52 games against Eastern teams, their records will skew favorably upward compared to their Western counterparts (aka the Knicks would have a much worse record if they were in the West). I do predict that the Knicks tie with a divisional rival but win the tie-breaker. Making their first playoff appearance since 2013.
- Hardaway and Porzingis over 20 ppg – Porzingis improved his scoring from 14 ppg to 18 ppg last season (while his stats were flat in every other major category) and with Melo gone the 1 extra bucket per game he’ll need to top 18 should be easy to come by. Hardaway meanwhile averaged 14.5 ppg on 11 shots per game. As the #2 in New York his shot total may almost double and his scoring total should easily slide past the 20 mark. I expect that this scoring combination is the key that gets them to the playoffs and finally brings excitement back to The Garden.
Josh Predictions (28-54) (12th in the East)
- Porzingis is an All Star – This is officially the Unicorn’s team now that Carmelo Anthony is in OKC. I think Kristaps Porzingis has a big year, boosting his stats to somewhere in the neighborhood of 23/9/5. Even though I think as a whole the Knicks will be awful, I predict Porzingis’ play earns him the first of many All Star appearances of his career this season.
- Hornacek gets fired – Phil’s gone. Melo’s gone. And I think Hornacek is gone by the end of this season as well. There’s already reports that he and Porzingis aren’t on the best of terms. And with what I expect to be another poor season, I think the Knicks fire their coach at the end of the year.