A new season begins for the NY Knicks and while nothing can be judged by their solid pre-season record of 4-2 you have to be encouraged by how the team has apparently gelled so quickly with so many new faces on the roster.
|Bradley Center Milwaukee, WI||Oct. 28, 2015||8 PM ET|
This pre-season was a contrast to last pre-season when their record was 3-4 and where some players commented it would take a while to become comfortable with the triangle offense Derek Fisher was implementing. This pre-season seems different with no one seeming uncomfortable running the triangle despite all of the new players except Sasha never having run the triangle offense before and while you can tell nothing about a pre-season record you have to be encouraged by the performances of the off season acquistions of DWill, Quinn and AA. Add respectable showings by PJ’s 2 first round picks, Zinger and Grant, the acquisition of a shooter in Sasha and improvement by sophomore’s Early and Gallo and the Knicks certainly have a better team than they ended the year with and they may even have a better team than the one they started the year off with that included Stat, Melo, Shump and JR, guys that were remnants of a 2nd round playoff team.
If Calderon can pick it up and start scoring like he did in the last pre-season game and Rolo can produce more than intangibles like boxing out and start putting up real rebounding and scoring numbers these PJ Knicks WILL be better than the team he inherited when he took over.
The early numbers in pre-season should give hope to the Knicks faithful this year, they averaged 98.66 ppg and allowed 92.83 pts in 6 games for a +5.83 differential way better than the -9.3 pt differential in scoring during the regular season last year. They’re also playing faster and attempting and making more shots which includes shooting and making more 3s in pre-season than regular season last year. Rebounding numbers are better as well, the Knicks were near the bottom of the league last year with 40.3rpg and in the pre-season have averaged 47rpg. Certainly you can’t compare a small sample size of 6 games esp. in the pre-season but you have to be encouraged by the early results.
I think Knicks fans won’t have to wait long to see if the team is legitimate or not. With the team coming together pretty quickly already and playing 11 or their first 18 games against teams that made the playoffs last year, if they can go into the month of Dec. with a near .500 record I think they can make the playoffs this year in the weak EC.
|NY Knicks||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Arron Affalo out (hamstring)||Giannis Antetokounmpo out (suspension)|
|Kevin Seraphin out (knee)||Jabari Parker out (knee)|
|Lou Amundson out (back)||OJ Mayo out (hamstring)|
The Milwaukee Bucks would like to build on last season's playoff appearance in the early going of 2015-16, but they won't have their talented 20-year-old forwards for the opener.
The New York Knicks hope the arrival of their own 20-year-old can spark a turnaround.
Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be out for Jason Kidd's Bucks on Wednesday night when Kristaps Porzingis makes his Knicks debut.
Milwaukee was 13-12 last season when Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, went down with a torn ACL in his left knee. Parker, who was averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, is expected to return in early November.
''He's going to come back and change the dynamic (once he returns),'' forward John Henson said.
The Bucks (41-41) managed to hold their own without Parker, reaching the playoffs in Kidd's first season thanks in part to the emergence of Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo, along with the acquisition of 2013-14 Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.
Middleton, re-signed to a five-year, $70 million deal in the offseason, averaged a career-high 13.4 points in 79 regular-season games before putting up 15.8 in a six-game first-round loss to Chicago. He's scored 16.5 while hitting 12 of 19 from 3-point range in four home meetings with New York.
The 6-foot-7 guard may have to step up with Antetokounmpo, who averaged career highs of 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds last season, suspended for the opener after running over the Bulls' Mike Dunleavy in Game 6 of the playoff series.
''We've got to make it work,'' Carter-Williams said of Antetokounmpo's absence. ''We'll be ready with whoever replaces Giannis, whether it's (Chris Copeland) or whoever.''
After ranking 19th in the NBA with a minus-0.8 rebounding margin, the Bucks added some muscle up front by bringing in Greg Monroe via free agency from Detroit. Monroe, who turned down an offer from the Knicks, averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds last season.
''They got a great big guy to add to what's a really solid young perimeter core," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Things look like they are on the way up (in Milwaukee).''
Things aren't as cheery for New York (15-67), which plummeted to the worst record in franchise history just two years after winning the Atlantic Division title and a playoff series.
Team President Phil Jackson made pitches to free agents LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and Monroe in an effort to turn things around quickly. He had to settle for Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Kyle O'Quinn, Kevin Seraphin and Sasha Vujacic.
Afflalo was projected to start in the backcourt after averaging 13.3 points with Denver and Portland. However, he could be out for up to two weeks because of a strained left hamstring.
Porzingis might be one of those players if he can live up to the potential that made him the No. 4 pick in the draft. The 7-foot-3 Latvian, who has range well beyond the 3-point line, is expected to start at forward after overcoming a mild quad strain during a promising preseason.
The Knicks dropped all four meetings in last year's season series.
Jackson and coach Derek Fisher still have Carmelo Anthony, whose 29.6 scoring average in 16 career games at the Bradley Center is his highest at any venue. The star forward insists he's finally healthy after being limited to a career-low 40 games before undergoing left knee surgery.
''If rebuilding for us is based on the fact that we don't have a certain caliber of player on our roster, quote-unquote, other than Carmelo, so people assume that we're rebuilding,'' Fisher said. ''But was Atlanta rebuilding last year when they didn't have that quote-unquote player on their roster?''