Optimist: Ready for another year of exciting basketball?
Pessimist: Ready to get another beating this year?
Optimist: What do you mean?
Pessimist: Well every year you make these wild predictions about the Knicks, and every year I kick your butt in.
Optimist: The last time we did this 2 years ago I predicted 43 wins, and the Knicks won 23, but that’s ancient history. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and feel confident about this year. Don’t you?
Pessimist: Um, never.
Optimist: Look at it from the bright side. Last year’s team won 32 games, and this team has a lot more going for it. The roster alone is deeper. Milicic, Hill, and Douglas are new additions, then add in a healthy Gallinari and a trimmed down Eddy Curry and you have to admit the team is a lot deeper, no?
Pessimist: Darko Milicic? He’s 24 and has been on 4 different teams already. Can anyone tell me what Jordan Hill does well? From what I saw this summer, he’s a power forward that’s shies from contact and likes to shoot hooks & jumpers. Douglas is a combo guard that shot 28.8% eFG in the summer league (including an arctic 9.1% from downtown). Gallo already has back problems, and a “trimmed down” Eddy Curry? Isn’t that like a suped up Ford Tempo?
Optimist: Easy there Pessy. Listen Darko will protect the paint. Hill will give some rebounding and outside shooting. Douglas can defend too and run the offense. Gallo is going to be the next Nowitzki. And Curry is going to score a ton in the paint. And anyway those 5 guys aren’t the core of the team, just some extra help. Lots of bench players in the league have faults.
Pessimist: Faults? The Knicks’ bench is like San Andreas. Which reminds me I have update my earthquake insurance.
Optimist: Earthquake insurance in New York City? With those kinds of prediction abilities, how do I lose to you every year? Anyway, the Knicks had lots of guys shuffling in & out last year. Crawford, Randolph, Collins, Roberson, Rose, Tim Thomas, and Jerome James, not to mention all the NBDL guys (Crawford, Sims, Nichols, Samb, and Sene). Certainly this year’s roster will be more stable.
Pessimist: Perhaps. But who is to say that Donnie won’t pull the trigger to shed some more contracts. Curry and Jeffries will be gone if Walsh receives a half decent deal (at least you’d hope so). And the Knicks don’t have a draft pick to sweeten the pot, so they’ll have to throw someone in like Chandler, Gallo, or Hill.
Optimist: Wait a second, you’re saying getting rid of Curry or Jeffries would be a bad thing? Let’s just see how things pan out before dumping on Walsh. Donnie has been pretty shrewd with deals so far.
Pessimist: Like Balkman & Von Wafer?
Optimist: No like getting rid of Randolph & Crawford. You have to admit he’s been good with regards to shedding contracts & having a long term plan.
Pessimist: How about not getting the #5 pick for Jeffries & Chandler? And not sending Jeffries and Nate to Sacramento?
Optimist: Those are just rumors. Nobody really believes those.
Optimist: OK almost nobody.
Pessimist: I think the knock on Walsh is whether he’s a good evaluator of talent. Say what you will about Balkman, but there’s no doubt that Von Wafer could have helped this team last year. The Knicks were starving for a shooting guard last year, had Wafer on their summer league team, and the next thing you know Wafer was starting for the Rockets. This year the team still needs a shooting guard, they had Morris Almond on their summer league team, and … need I say more?
Optimist: C’mon, you’re killing Walsh for Balkman, Wafer, and Almond? I’m not too concerned with the end of bench guys. D’Antoni isn’t likely to play them anyway.
Pessimist: What about Jordan Hill? He didn’t look all that great in summer, and I don’t see him breaking the rotation this year.
Optimist: That just shows how deep the team is. See you’re making my point for me. Anyway, Let’s move on to the offense. You have to admit that the Knicks will be better on offense this season. It’s the second year of D’Antoni’s offense so the players will be more acclimated to the system…
Pessimist: … Got any proof that players do better in the same offense?
Optimist: No, but it sounds right. Add in a full season from Gallinari. The guy hit 44% from three and 96% from the line. Give him more than 400 minutes and scoring will increase.
Pessimist: That’s the teenager with the bad back, right?
Optimist: Actually he’s 21 now.
Pessimist: You know Crawford played almost the same amount of minutes last year as a Knick, and hit 46% of his threes? Anyone can put up eye-catching numbers in limited minutes.
Optimist: He’s still young, and it’s realistic to think he’ll improve as he matures. The offense will improve this year?
Pessimist: And the defense?
Optimist: Darko Milicic, Jordan Hill, Toney Douglas are all defensive players …
Pessimist: First off none of those players are likely to see a lot of minutes. Curry, if he ever gets in shape, could push Darko for time so the Knicks can showcase him. And both of them will keep Jordan Hill on the bench. Toney Douglas will likely see time, but not if he’s shooting 20%. You have to admit the defense will be just as bad as last year.
Optimist: It won’t be worse and is likely to be better. Will you admit the offense will be better than last year?
Pessimist: Of course not.
Optimist: Time to put your money where your mouth is – how many wins are the Knicks getting in 2010?
Pessimist: I’m skeptical of the improvements. Hill shot pretty bad in the summer, Douglas shot worse, and Milicic has shot pretty bad his whole career. Eddy Curry is a turnover machine who doesn’t rebound on the defensive end. There’s still no true shooting guard. Number 8 overall pick Jordan Hill can compete against Wilson Chandler to see who shoots less free throws. I’ll go with 32 wins again.
Optimist: The team has definitely improved. They’ll top last year’s total and then some. The additions to the roster will help D’Antoni mix & match and won’t leave the team helpless when the inevitable injuries occur. Better seasons from Gallinari & Curry will only help the team. Continuity with the coaching staff is a plus as well. I’ll go with 38 wins.
Pessimist: Next you’re going to tell me they’re going to make the playoffs.
Optimist: 8th seed, which will be good enough to attract that kid from Ohio!