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The New York Knicks have many hopes for the year 2010. Most of these hopes lie in the illustrious free agent market this off-season. There is only one problem, between now and then the Knicks must play a grueling 82 game schedule in much improved Eastern Conference. GM Donnie Walsh has done everything he could up until this point in cutting cap space and keeping players happy. This season brings hope and many of the players feel they can climb into a playoff race.
Las Vegas has the Knicks over/under win total set at 31.5. The Knicks only had 32 wins last season after a complete overhaul of an organization. The Knicks have said goodbye to Stephon Marbury and 7 other players than were on last year’s opening night roster. More importantly the Knicks have added first round draft choice Jordan Hill (Arizona) and Tony Douglas (FSU). Danilo Gallinari is back healthy. Although the Knicks only won 32 games last season, the Knicks were 14-14 in game Danilo played. Gallinari is a key piece because he provides a future for the franchise. He can play multiple positions and defend bigs, something Wilson Chandler couldn’t do at the PF spot. This allows Chandler to move into the 2 guard role.
All these changes, along with the addition of Darko Milicic in the middle the Knicks weak defensive should improve quickly. Jared Jefferies is revived (again) and the Knicks may or may not go .500 this season but they will progress. Coach D’Antoni is preaching defense, energy, and even has Eddie Curry dropping a few Lbs. The team has definitely bottomed out and is making its slow climb back from the bottom. Conversely, their metro-area counterparts are still slipping.
Ok, time for some forecasting. Larry Hughes has been told he will not play much. So, Chandler will have to step up his game. Jordan Hill won’t make much of an impact early in the season, but Tony Douglas may set the garden on fire. The Knicks should play better but in the tough Eastern Conference I think it would be hard-pressed for the Knicks to get into the playoffs. With that being said, I think the Knicks will get everything out of the talent that they do have and will stay in the hunt until the last 15 games of the season.
Look for Walsh to make a move or 2 to free up more money and the Knicks to continue to grow into a strong franchise once again. Everything starts tonight fittingly with Dwayne Wade, one of the most sought after free-agents, hosting our revitalization party. Tonight is Tim Hardaway’s night; his jersey will be hung in a 30 minute pre-game ceremony. 2009 Knicks, 0-0. 2010 finds playoffs? Wade? Lebron? Future Championships?
And so the New, New York Knicks Era begins today and progresses to the future. Good Luck.
-Rich Tree (10-28-2009)