there is one thing I’ve learned in my brief time as a mild mannered #sporps blogger for a major metropolitan website, it’s that you can make very precise and incredibly accurate predictions from one preseason game. In fact, I started writing these predictions down after just the first quarter, due to my keen, well-honed powers of observation. Prepare yourself for some takes so ridiculously hot and heavy that they can fuse hydrogen atoms. They may melted yer eyeballs, so make sure you’ve got a home eye wash station installed. All ready? Roll the ugliness…
1. The Knicks defense will be bad this year. I’m going out on a limb on this one, but the way I see it, there are just way too many key players on this team that look completely lost when asked to do anything other than stand still with their hands up. Amare, Bargnani and Timmy Jr. are not particularly good at being where they have to be. Calderon also has a reputation for playing putrid defense, and JR Smith and Melo have a tendency to lose focus, or at least place the vast bulk of their focus at other ends of the court. Make no mistake, even with a much more effective system in place that whatever the hell Woodson ran last year, moving Chandler’s going to hurt. I can’t for the life of me think of reasonable five-man units, that have more one or two solid/solid+ defenders, and that puts a definite ceiling on what they can accomplish. I have no idea if the decision to roll w/STAT at center is something that Fish is seriously investing in, or he just wanted to get it out of his system, like a series of dalliances in college with… never mind.
This is also plausible.
At least Amar’e knows there’s a problem here. And that’s the first step. Right? RIGHT? Welp, that was a depressing start to these takes… Let’s cheer this up some!
2. Tim Hardaway Jr. will finish the season second on the team in points. Maybe not second in Points/36, but second in total points scored. THJ has been pleasantly aggressive in the preseason so far, getting to the line and finding all sorts of crafty ways to get to the rim. He really can be a special offensive player; and he’ll have to be in order to positively contribute to the team since his defense is Joseph Merrick ugly. That’s the elephant man. Not a good looking guy, but beauty is, like, on the inside, kids.
3. The Knicks offense is going to be in the top ten efficiency-wise Tonight, the ball was zippling and bopping around pretty well, especially when the starters were on the court. Even when bench bros came in, as a whole the team created plenty of open looks and generally good shots. After a year (or years, if we’re being honest) of isolationist policies, even when everything’s getting utterly buggered on D, it’s a wonderful panacea. You have to figure that this will only get better with time. Anytime Carmelo gets five or more dimes, like he did tonight, good things happen. That’s just math. It is hard to predict that this will be something we’ll see on the regular, but what if? What if Carmelo takes two or three fewer contested mid-range jumpers a game and passes the ball instead? What if he gets close to averaging 4 assists per game, along with maintaining his career best rebounding from last year? If Melo averages something like 28-8-4, on a .56-.57 TS%, that would be what we all have been asking for ever since he got here, and prove he’s worth the money the Knicks are paying him, right? Is that possible?
4. (Raises hand like Martin Prince) Ooo! Ooo! I know the answer. It’s YES. Carve that ish in stone. Carmelo Anthony will average 28 points, 8 rebounds and 4+ assists a game on a 0.57 TS%! ALL-STAR! Phil Jackson is the Melo whisperer! Pass the peyote! Never mind, I’ve had enough! Squirrels are eating my toes!
5. Amar’e’s wine baths won’t help him stay healthy. Sorry STAT, you’re paying way too much money for some seriously pseudo-scientific pabulam. Now, if you really want to stay healthy, after years of extensive research proving all of my theories, I’m now prepared to offer Dr. Pepper baths. The same mystery ingredients that give Dr. Pepper it’s unique taste also help inhibit the growth of cyan blood-cells which helps reduce levels of bad ionized nitrogen molecules and rid the body of toxic mitochondria. That means nothing. I have a headache. Time for a bubbly sugar water siesta!
6. Cole Aldrich won’t even get to 200 minutes played this year. All the signs are there. Little playing time in preseason, Amar’e getting the start at center tonight and Jason Smith getting plenty of back-up minutes. It’s frustrating, but we are all just going to have to deal with it, and cry softly into our pillows at night.
Anything to add, Big Boss Man?
END HOT TAKES
The over/under for wins on the season for the Knicks is 40.5. Personally, I would be happy with a 40 win season, but on a macro level, this year really isn’t about wins at all. It’s about implementing a sustainable system, seeing what pieces currently on the roster can excel, and weeding out the ones that don’t. It’s going to be ugly at times, like allowing a Bucks team that started five dudes all born after 1990 to slice the Knicks’ perimeter defense up like so much pre-sliced preseason cheese. The truth is, by this time next year, the team will be very different, so it’s hard to get too obsessed with success right now. Set your expectations low, and enjoy the season, is what I say. All indications are that we are starting a proper rebuild, and it feels kind of nice. On to DC!