The New York Knicks have transformed themselves. By acquiring Derrick Rose, as well as signing Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings, the Knicks have made themselves a more well rounded team. However, their success this season is reliant on five crucial elements.
Crucial Elements to the New York Knicks Season
While Rose and Noah will be key components to the team’s success this season, their injury history may plague the Knicks. Ever since his ACL tear back in 2012, Rose has been unable to consistency stay healthy. He missed all of the 2012-13 season, and missed a combined 93 games in the following two seasons. The same injury-prone label applies to Noah. Noah had his 2015-16 campaign cut short due to a season-ending shoulder injury. He has also only played 70 or more games in three of his nine NBA seasons. Rose and Noah’s durability will be crucial to the Knicks’ success this season.
Another key factor to this team’s success will be its bench, headlined by explosive point guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings is an uptempo, shoot-first point guard who will provide a scoring punch off the bench. Forward Lance Thomas is also a key ingredient to to the team’s bench. Thomas is a two-way player; he is a good shooter, can finish in the paint, and is also a great defender. However, after him, New York’s bench is a leap of faith. Although returning big man Kyle O’Quinn is a serviceable two-way big, he’s the only big man on this roster with NBA experience.
Spanish center Willy Hernangomez, Lithuanian forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, forward Maurice Ndour, and former Duke Blue Devils center Marshall Plumlee are all first year NBA players. While some of these players have shown promise, it’s still only the preseason. When tip-off comes on Tuesday night, these rookies will have to produce at a veteran level rather quickly. Rookie Ron Baker, veteran Sasha Vujacic, and acquired guard Justin Holiday will have to produce in the backcourt, too.
It is imperative that Kristaps Porzingis takes the next step in his growth as a player. Last season, he played very well, posing a threat on both ends of the floor. With Rose now on this team, Porzingis’s skill-set should be on full display. Both Porzingis and Rose like to get out and run; they’re uptempo players. Rose is an attacking guard who likes to push the pace, and Porzingis likes to finish on fast breaks. The big man’s ability to play out on the perimeter will help the two blend well. When Rose attacks the basket, Porzingis will be spotting up on the perimeter. His abilities to both play outside and finish fast breaks at 7’3″ make him a unique player. Unfortunately for the Knicks, their franchise player has traditionally not been the type to get out and run like Rose and Porzingis.
Carmelo Anthony‘s Ability to Adapt
Despite getting up there in age, Carmelo Anthony is still one of the best NBA players. He is an elite scorer and an aggressive rebounder. He’s also a bull in the paint and an underrated defender. However, unlike Rose and Porzingis, Anthony is a half-court player. He operates in the post quite often, and he tends to slow down the Knicks’ offense at times. Anthony needs to adapt his game to fit in with the uptempo offense that the Knicks will be running, given the personnel of Rose, Porzingis, and new head coach Jeff Hornacek. However, Hornacek needs to be given the freedom to run his offense without team president Phil Jackson interfering.
No Phil Jackson Interference Whatsoever
It is well known that Jackson is stubborn when it comes to his beloved triangle offense. He has stated in years past that the Knicks needed to run the triangle offense efficiently in order to be successful. However, Jackson’s triangle revival experiment has failed. After two horrific seasons of running the triangle, the Knicks roster is now assembled to play a run-and-gun style of offense, but Jackson has made some misleading comments with regards to how the team’s new offense will be run. The bottom line is that no team president or general manager should be telling the team’s head coach how to run their offense; it’s simply unheard of. In order for Jeff Hornacek and the Knicks to run their uptempo offense successfully, Phil Jackson can’t be in Hornacek’s ear telling him how to run his own offense, or even to run the triangle.
The Knicks should be playoff-bound this season, but their postseason aspirations are reliant on five crucial. If they can remain healthy, get good bench production, see Porzingis grow as a player, have Anthony adapt to their new offense, and have no interference from Phil Jackson, the Knicks should be successful.