New York Knicks
2015-2016 Record: 32-50
Many jokes have been made at the expense of the new-look Knicks, but as easy as it may be to dismiss them as a laughing stock, they have a real shot at competing for a playoff berth next year. A starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joakim Noah may seem a couple years past its prime
One of Derrick Rose’s first official acts in the Big Apple was to classify his new roster as a “superteam”, akin to the powerhouse Golden State Warriors, and let’s be clear, that will not be the case. However, there is no denying that the Knicks have improved in the offseason and will provide a more talented roster to first-year coach Jeff Hornacek than they ever did to former coach Derek Fisher.
Rose and Noah were once all-NBA level talents, and the hope is that they will rediscover their prime form in a new environment. Lee is one of the league’s most underrated two-way guards,and will bring the backcourt shooting (38.4 career three-point percentage) that Rose simply doesn’t have, along with the veteran knowledge that comes with eight years in the league.
It’s unclear how much of the triangle offense team president Phil Jackson will implement, but the passing ability of Noah would be an excellent fit, and his defensive acumen would be a boost to a team that gave up an already respectable 101.1 points per game last season, good for tenth in the NBA.
Where the Knicks did struggle was on offense, posting a paltry 98.4 points per game, and to compound the problem, they will be losing their third, fourth, and fifth leading scorers in Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, and Derrick Williams.
Rose and Lee should for the most part counteract this deficit, but for the Knicks to truly make a leap into the playoff picture, Latvian sensation Kristaps Porzingis will need to build off an already-promising rookie campaign.
Averages of 14.3 points and 7.3 assists were enough to garner Porzingis second place in the Rookie of the Year honors, and it is vitally important for the success of the Knicks that he avoid the notorious sophomore slump that afflicts many former rookies.
All things considered, the Knicks have to be seen as at least a potential playoff team, and with so many elements yet to be seen working in conjunction, there is a very wide variety of outcomes they could attain next season.