Cavs 117 Knicks 88

I had a change of heart last night right before tip-off. I decided to put my rational thoughts aside and buy some Knicks-colored glasses. My new outlook on life seemed perfect as the Knicks were only down by 3 at the half. And then the second half started.


Porzingis: With 16 points on 13 shots and a couple of blocks. Yes the defensive scheme in the second half left him on an island, but he played pretty well. Slow and steady progress…


Rose: I’ll take 17 points on 17 shots from Rose, although can we cut down on those 4 turnovers and get a few more dimes? Some passable defense was played as well.

Anthony: He shouldn’t be rusty, given that he just played in the Olympics. Four turnovers, and five silly fouls. C’mon Melo!


Checkers: I have to give him a thumbs up simply for not grinding Noah and Melo into the ground. Melo played 30 minutes, and Noah 19. For years I’ve been hoping for a coach that didn’t play every game as if it were Game 7. But Hornacek’s offense and defense was inconsistent throughout the game. Since it’s game 1, we’ll chalk it up to the newness. Come December, this won’t fly.

The Deep Bench: Baker, Hernangomez, and Kuz played well, albeit almost all in garbage time. If this season gets ugly, I want to see more of them. Heck with that, I want to see more of them now!


The Near Bench: Lance, Jennings, and Holiday were a combined 4-18. Part of this goes to the coach, who seemed to put them all out there at once without a scorer. Maybe Baker should be on this line as it seems he can help with scoring?

Courtney Lee: Maybe next game he’ll score a point. It was that bad.

Knicks 2017 Game Thread: at Cavs

The unbeaten New York Knicks head to the swing stage of Ohio to match up with last season’s champions the Cleveland Cavaliers. The winner of this game will be at the top of the Eastern Conference, and the new look Knicks are looking to establish themselves as the league’s premier team. Noted sports expert and AM Radio host Craig Carton claimed that New York was the third best team in the Conference, but Knick fans won’t let his pessimism damper their hopes for the 2017 season. This Knicks team is so loaded, that the odds for them winning a championship has dropped 500% since they were first announced. Optimistic Gardeners will have to move quick to lay bets if they want to ensure a comfortable retirement!


Knicks 2017 Roundtable: Season Wins

The Vegas line is 38.5, if I set it to 40.5, are you going over or under?

Fisher-Cohen: The Knicks registered assists on 62.6% of their preseason field goals and finished preseason with the 5th best offense. Last season, they only assisted on 55.7% of their field goals. Unfortunately, it’s the preseason… The Kings finished with the 6th best offense. It gives me something to hope for this season, but I don’t expect the Knicks to be a great offensive team, and one talented yet injury prone center won’t make up for terrible perimeter defense. We’ve seen that movie before back when it starred Tyson Chandler.

Anyway, my biggest concern with this team is Rose, who barely played this preseason. To me, he’s the new late Knicks era Stoudemire — the same weak defense, the same star power to demand minutes and shots. The main difference is Rose is far less efficient. I expect him to be this team’s albatross. This team has a lot of parallels to the team Jackson inherited in 2014 in terms of contracts, age and current talent, and I expect it to perform similarly. If you told me Rose would go down early or Hornacek would have the balls to bench him and the presence to keep it from becoming a distraction, I would probably take the over, but right now, I have to go under.

Also, as of 10/4, Vegas had the Knicks at 40 wins.

Kurylo: You can look at this team and see lots of things to be optimistic about. Let’s start with the most obvious: Porzingis. He’s almost certain to get better, the only question being how much better. Is he a future All Star? A top 10 player? A generational talent? Only time will tell.

The signing of Hornacek was another plus for the front office. If nothing else, it showed that the team wasn’t afraid to correct their mistake, or at least the mistake of hiring Derek Fisher. “Checkers” wasn’t awesome in Phoenix, but he did well with what he had. Even if he doesn’t turn out to be a success, it will only be a bad move from hindsight. Right now it’s a solid choice.

The next big plus is the addition of Joakim Noah. New York needs a defensive minded center to play alongside Melo, and a healthy Noah gives them exactly that. His energetic play will be a plus for Gardenites, who will likely cheer bigly for their hometown hero.

But I’m not an optimist, and there’s a dark side to this team as well. The PG position is in shambles, and I’m having a hard time wondering if Derrick Rose missing 20 games is going to be a good thing for the team given their lack of depth. The franchise has lacked a good PG since Marbury took his talents to Asia. In the 11 seasons since this blog’s inception, only 6 Knicks have managed 1500+ minutes and 4.5 ast/36, — and the list isn’t exactly a group you’d be proud of. (For fun – try to name the 6 PGs in the comments.)

But PG isn’t the only problem. I talked about ‘Melo yesterday, and how his production is fading. The overall defense is questionable. And if Noah gets hurt for an extended period, this team is going to flail their way to 32 games again.

It’s a transition year, not a year to dream about a deep playoff run. Last year I hit the bullseye with my prediction, and I’d be happy if they won more than the 37 games I foresee. Save yourself the heartache and go with the UNDER.

Plugh: Setting the number at 40.5 instead of 38.5 makes all the difference in the world to me. At 38.5 I would feel comfortable taking the OVER. I’ve been feeling confident about the Knicks being at .500 with a plus or minus of 2 games. Two games under 41 is 39, so cool. OVER. Setting it at 40.5 means I have to hit it right on the money and I’m just not super confident that they’re good enough to hit .500 for sure. The wiggle room was nice on the Vegas line.

I like Max’s comparison of Rose and Stoudemire. It does feel similar, and I hadn’t made that connection. Of course the problem is the star power/minutes formula vs. the defensive liability and usage issues. Health is worrisome. Defense, generally, is worrisome. I could continue to tick off my concerns about the team and arrive at UNDER, but unlike Kurylo, I am an optimist and I think there’s an outside shot the team could be really good. The smart bet is probably that they’re not going to be very good, but I’m going to say OVER because I continue to believe in two important things. 1) Porzingis is going to make a leap this season and semi-take over the identity of the club. It’s still going to be Melo’s team in most ways, but the dirty little secret that will evolve over the next 2-3 seasons is that Porzingis is alpha and omega. 2) Joakim Noah will have a Jason Kidd effect on the ball club. His presence on the court, and ability to share the rock, will impact the team more than his actual production. His defensive spirit will coax the team to be better than miserable, even if he can’t do what he used to, and even though none of his teammates are actually very good at defense. Those predictions, admittedly, aren’t born out by any statistical model, but I think I feel comfortable with them based on stylistic precedent. OVER.

Topaz: Maybe Schrödinger was a Knicks fan. The team may have the widest possible win-loss range this year for any team in the NBA. There’s a universe in which the Knicks win 48-50 games—if Rose is healthy and effective, if Noah stays healthy to anchor a formidable frontcourt defense, if KP makes a big leap. There’s another universe in which they win 30-32 games—if Noah and Rose continue to regress and/or get injured, if Melo takes a step back, etc. Another unpredictable year for an unpredictable franchise.

When in doubt, though, go with what you know. I keep thinking about this Chris Herring tweet from January. We know that the Knicks have failed to address their biggest problem from last year (or the past half decade): point guard defense. We know that Rose has always been a bad shooter and has been an inefficient scorer the past three years when healthy. We know that Noah is 31, an extremely physical player whose body is likely breaking down, and had a 41 TS% (!) in 29 games last year. We know that while the Knicks are deep at the forward position (Hi Lance!) they are awfully thin at point guard and center—where, as it stands, the team has its most injury-prone starters. We know that 21-year-olds sometimes need time to develop before we demand yet another breakout season from them. We know that the offensive spacing will likely get really ugly, really quickly if Melo or KP have to miss extended time.

It could all work out. But it’s likelier that it won’t—there are just too many 50-50 balls that have to go in the Knicks favor. I’ll take the UNDER at 37 wins.

Udwary: As everyone mentioned, this is a really tough team to predict for the season, but I think it’s easy to predict the beginning of the season. We have three new starters who weren’t on the team last year, two of whom missed several preseason games, and a new coach installing a new system. I would expect the team to be a mess early on, but once they start getting used to playing together and in this system they can be a formidable team. How many games will that take? 20? 30? By then I would start to worry about injuries. I think the under would be the safe bet, but the over is not out of the question with a healthy Noah and Melo. My prediction for the season is something like a 12-20 start, but a late push, just missing the 8 spot in the playoffs with a 41-41 finish. OVER! There is no way I would bet real money on that line, though. There are just way too many question marks surrounding this team.

Knicks Morning News (2016.10.25)

  • [SNY Knicks] GEICO SportsNite: Knicks ready for opener against Cavs
    (Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:51:43 AM)

    Jeff Hornacek, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose discuss the coming season and the Knicks season opener in Cleveland.

  • [SNY Knicks] Porzingis embracing heightened expectations
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 10:49:23 PM)

    New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis is embracing raised expectations heading into his second professional season.

  • [SNY Knicks] Noah’s recent injury still slowing him down
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 8:25:00 AM)

    Joakim Noah hasn’t shown too much rust in the New York Knicks’ preseason schedule so far, but he will need to recover from his hamstring injury fast as the regular season quickly approaches.

  • [NYPost] Knicks could learn a thing or two about winning from Cavaliers
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 8:44:10 PM)

    CLEVELAND — You should see what it looks like here, in this city that not so long ago was bereft of sporting hope, drowning in decades of despair. You should hear how optimistic the locals sound, how rich is their swagger, how deep is their confidence. It’s actually disconcerting. And more than a little contagious….

  • [NYPost] Warriors’ fun-loving spectacle now loathed for juicy NBA year
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 8:00:56 PM)

    When trying to assess the 2016-17 NBA landscape, a pointed observation from one of mankind’s late, great philosophers immediately surfaces. “Everybody pulls for David,” Wilt Chamberlain once said. “Nobody roots for Goliath.” This season’s NBA Goliath is Golden State. The Warriors were as beloved as Mother Teresa a few years back. Fun to watch with…

  • [NYPost] Knicks’ new-looks roster gets first test vs. defending champs
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 7:36:33 PM)

    CLEVELAND — Carmelo Anthony will watch bittersweetly as his buddies LeBron James and ex-Knick teammates, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert receive their championship rings Tuesday night. He hopes one day he’ll be in the same position of receiving jewelry now that he has Derrick Rose on his side. The Rose Era dawns in a special…

  • [NYPost] Phil Jackson on his last do-over if Knicks’ risks go bust
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 1:45:53 PM)

    Three strikes, you’re out. Knicks president Phil Jackson has an 0-2 count on him as his club starts its third full season under the Zen Master’s faulty presidency Tuesday night at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. After another major roster reconstruction and hiring a new, inventive coach in Jeff Hornacek, Jackson may have gotten it right…

  • [NYPost] Knicks docs monitoring Derrick Rose for signs of trial ‘stress’
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 11:55:04 AM)

    The Knicks medical staff isn’t just worried about Derrick Rose’s knees. On the eve of Rose’s Knicks debut, doctors were more concerned about his conditioning and stress levels following a two-plus-week civil sexual assault trial. Rose said he was advised by the Knicks’ medical director, Lisa Callahan, not to overexert himself in the beginning stages…

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks preview: Added talent brings opportunity
    (Tuesday, October 25, 2016 3:31:19 AM)

    Cleaning out his locker in the middle of April the last three years had Carmelo Anthony in a foul mood.

  • [NY Newsday] Kristaps Porzingis ready to make jump
    (Tuesday, October 25, 2016 3:25:48 AM)

    Kristaps Porzingis’ smile is big and wide as he thinks about his rookie season and the way he silenced so many who thought he was a long-term project based on his appearance.

  • [NY Newsday] Derrick Rose gets his chance to begin resurgence with Knicks
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 8:48:29 PM)

    CLEVELAND — After the Cavaliers’ NBA championship banner gets raised to the rafters Tuesday night, the Knicks will unveil a team with 10 new players, a new coach and a former MVP who is out to show he’s still an elite player who can carry a team to the playoffs.

  • [NY Newsday] NBA power rankings: Eastern Conference
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 5:51:10 PM)

    1. CAVALIERS: The reigning NBA champs remain the class of the conference and should rule the East again as long as LeBron James is healthy and leading them.

  • [NY Newsday] NBA Eastern Conference preview: Cleveland Cavaliers not satisfied
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 5:13:00 PM)

    LeBron James helped the Cavaliers make history last year, twice. But that doesn’t mean the best player of his generation is going to exhale.

  • [NY Newsday] What to like and not like about the Knicks in 2016-17
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 3:47:00 PM)

    Health concerns, Phil’s future, Derrick Rose and more

  • [NY Newsday] Add Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy to those who like the improved Knicks
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 2:47:48 PM)

    Like most NBA observers, ESPN analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson believe the Knicks will be much improved this season and have a good chance of making the playoffs – with one important caveat, of course.

  • [NYDN] Knicks doctor expresses concern over Derrick Rose’s stress level
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 9:29:56 PM)

    Derrick Rose begins his Knicks career with confidence that he’ll regain MVP form, but also under orders to monitor his stress hormones.

  • [NYDN] What will Carmelo Anthony be thinking when LeBron James gets ring
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 3:32:59 PM)

    It feels like a cruel punishment to have Carmelo Anthony present for Cleveland’s championship ring ceremony.

  • [ESPN] Tuesday’s Knicks News: New-look roster gets top test against Cavs
    (Tuesday, October 25, 2016 5:09:31 AM)

    Tuesday’s Knicks News: New-look roster gets top test against Cavs

  • [ESPN] Rose: Regaining elite PG status ‘a matter of time’
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 5:03:40 PM)

    Rose: Regaining elite PG status ‘a matter of time’

  • [NYTimes] N.B.A. Schedule: Here’s What to Watch This Week
    (Monday, October 24, 2016 7:04:07 PM)

    The 2016-17 N.B.A. season kicks off on Tuesday with games between the Knicks and the Cavaliers, the Jazz and the Trail Blazers and the Spurs and the Warriors.

  • [NYTimes] Warriors’ Aesthetic Is Basketball Ballet
    (Tuesday, October 25, 2016 9:00:21 AM)

    The beauty of the pass-first style that Golden State rode to a 73-9 record last season is that it looks deceptively unscripted. But that’s not the case.

  • [NYTimes] On Pro Basketball: LeBron James Remains a Rock Amid N.B.A.’s Changing Terrain
    (Tuesday, October 25, 2016 12:49:48 AM)

    In a whirlwind off-season, Kevin Durant moved to the Warriors, and Dwyane Wade went to the Bulls. The Cavaliers look the same, and they’re thankful for that.