That sound you hear isn’t New York City collectively yawning as the Yankees and Derek Jeter limp to the end of their season. It isn’t the Mets claiming they’ll add the bat they need and next year will be different. It isn’t Geno Smith hanging his head after a poor decision. It isn’t Eli Manning figuring out Ben McAdoo’s offense. No, it’s the Knicks’ carbon footprint ripping a hole in the atmosphere as they descend on the greater New York metropolitan area. That’s right: Knicks training camp starts next week.
It’s been a longer offseason than we’re used to having lately as the Knicks didn’t finish off the 2013-14 season with a disappointing week or two in the playoffs. With the long layoff in mind, let’s start shaking out the cobwebs with twenty questions that this year’s iteration of the Knicks will answer for better or for worse.
- What position will the finally slim Carmelo Anthony play? Does his dramatic weight loss suggest the Knicks plan on using him at small forward?
- How good can Melo be in The Triangle? Will he buy into the team’s new gameplan? Will he move the ball like he’s going to be asked to?
- What is The Triangle offense? How structured is it?
- What is it like to have a point guard who can shoot it like Jose Calderon? How does he keep his shadow that five o’clock?
- Will anyone in the rotation other than Iman Shumpert be able to pressure the ball on defense?
- How much did Mike Woodson’s coaching (or lack thereof) have to do with the stagnation of Shumpert’s development? Can he take his game to another level? Will trade rumors dog him again this season?
- Does the new regime view JR Smith as a player who should come off the bench like Mike Woodson did? If not, will he start at small forward?
- How much of “Bad JR” will we see? Will The Triangle get him the spot-up jumpers that he’s so adept at making (as opposed to the off the dribble ones that he’s better off passing up)?
- Can Tim Hardaway remember that there are things to do with a basketball other than shoot? Can he show some semblance of an understanding of team defense?
- What does Amar’e Stoudemire have left? Can his mid-range jump shot make him useful in the new offense to offset his defense?
- Will Andrea Bargnani play at all?
- Will the Knicks let Stoudemire and Bargnani’s contracts expire when the season ends and turn them into cap space? Or will they do something dumb?
- Can Samuel Dalembert, who has been on five teams in the last five seasons, provide the Knicks with rim protection? Will he piss Derek Fisher off the same way he has Eddie Jordan, Paul Westphal, Kevin McHale, Scott Skiles and Rick Carlisle?
- Who is Jason Smith? How many times will he be compared to Wennington/Perdue/Longley? Does that question count as one time? Three times?
- Were the flashes Cole Aldrich showed at the end of last season indicative of anything or is he still Cole Aldrich?
- Was Cleanthony Early the steal of the draft?
- How much will we all love Quincy Acy and his amazing beard?
- How hands on will Phil Jackson be? How present will he be (both literally and metaphysically)?
- How much of an adjustment period will there be for Derek Fisher? What do the fans expect? How much pressure will there be on him?
- Can the Knicks make the playoffs?
By mid-April we’ll know the answers to pretty much all these questions. For now though, it’s all just guesswork. I’ll make my guesses next week. Good or bad, it’s sure to be an interesting season. Can’t wait.