The New York Knicks season opener is tonight and the preseason is behind them. The Knicks already face tests coming into the first game of the season. How will New York look in its first game? The Knicks admit that they may not look very good.
“We’ve played a few games and practiced together but it’s gonna take us some time to actually figure this whole thing out,” said sophomore power forward Kristaps Porzingis.
Will the whole team be prepared to lose games in order for the bigger picture to come together? Point guard Derrick Rose brings a lot of attention for his “super-team” comment. However, thanks to the hindsight of preseason, we see how far the Knicks have to go.
Rose more recently stated, “And the expectations I think of us, we just want to win. When you’ve got a group like that, it’s like, alright, I know everybody wants to do that, but we’re going to break this down as simple as possible, and try to win every game.”
Will Rose grow frustrated as the team attempts to gel and players try to prove themselves? Are the players ready to sacrifice for each other and possibly sacrifice individual stats? The focus shifts to preparing to be a good team. Is the team ready to change gears now that the players have a clearer picture of where they are?
“We’re not where we need to be in that department. That’s the truth,” center Joakim Noah said. “We’re a work in progress. We got a lot of work to do,” he added.
Carmelo Anthony looks like a fortune teller. He discussed this problem when he first sat down with Phil Jackson. This was before the signing of Rose, Noah, and the roster changes that took place before preseason. “I think we have to put things in kind of perspective and figure out what success means to this organization right now,” Anthony said.
Preseason has helped the Knicks and fans gain more perspective on what to expect in the season opener. There were a couple of plays that fans should take a second look at and expect to see.
The defense is actually much improved. This play ends in a score for the other team, but the rotation is solid. Notice how the team effectively covers ground as the ball swings. Besides Porzingis biting on a great crossover, this is a good sequence.
Not every successful defense sequence ends in a stop. One Knick loses sight of his man to a backdoor cut. Otherwise, this is the kind of defense commitment and rotation that improves a team.
The offensive sets appear like the Knick players understand their roles. New head coach Jeff Hornacek brings clarity, making the players more effective in set plays. It is the kind of sanity that Knicks fans have not seen for a while.
The Knicks will convert easy baskets from the sets that Hornacek has inserted. Knicks fans should pay attention to when and for whom Hornacek chooses to run these plays in the regular season.
The Knicks will sacrifice some wins to continue these improvements; otherwise, they will fall apart like last year. The beginning of the season always fills fans and players with dreams of possibilities. The big question is: will the Knicks finally see improvement?