"With these teams right now, they're saying us and Golden State are the super teams,” Derrick Rose mentioned in an interview when he joined the New York Knicks in the offseason. There is certainly a lot of hype surrounding the Knicks this upcoming NBA season. The signings of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings surely add plenty of talent in the starting lineup and off the bench. The Knicks also kept their two prized players, superstar Carmelo Anthony and a promising young player in Kristaps Porzingis. An encouraging new coach in Jeff Hornacek will lead the the Knicks’ coaching staff. However, there are many questions, few answers, and expectations to be fielded. Will the 2016-2017 New York Knicks live up to all of the hype?
BEST CASE SCENARIO: IF the whole team (especially Rose) stays healthy for the entire year, this team could be headed for a top 3 spot in the Eastern Conference. The playoffs are definitely a guarantee with a healthy squad of the Knicks. Having Rose putting in similar numbers he had after last year’s All Star Break: 17.4 PPG, 47% FG, 38% 3PT, and Melo retaining comparable stats to last year would be a huge benefit to the team. After all, he is 32 years old, signifying he has at the most a couple years left of his prime basketball years. Having Porzingis progress as a player would make him one of the most lethal big men in the league. Finally, if Joakim Noah can produce stats like he did with Rose back in 2013-14, then he will be a dangerous pick and roll partner with Rose as well as providing a defensive presence in the paint. This healthy, loaded, New York Knicks team can go as far as the NBA Finals if everything falls in place.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: IF any player of the Knicks’ starting lineup gets injured, it would be a major blow to the Knicks’ organization. In this worst case scenario, the Knicks lose Rose, Melo, and Kristaps to season-ending injuries. The injuries would certainly hurt the team’s hopes of making the playoffs. Most of the bench would have to adjust to a bigger role in the team, and many players would most likely break down under the pressure of carrying the workload of Rose, Melo, and Porzingis. Joakim Noah would be the lone survivor of the injury plague, and having the offense built around Noah isn’t going to get the team anywhere. Porzingis’ injury will have him suffer for the rest of his career, never developing into the player he could have been. He will end up as a draft bust. Melo may never return to his level of playing like a superstar, and will retire in 2019 with a massive drop off in stats towards the end of his career. Rose will try to play out one more season, but retire after 2018 after all of the injuries he sustained. This injury plagued, disappointing New York Knicks team fails to live up to expectations, and instead digs a much deeper hole that it was in before.
MY PREDICTION: The Knicks will snag the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. Personally, I believe that Rose can perform like he did last season. As he turns 28 this December, he is practically at the peak of his prime in playing basketball, and 2017 is certainly the year to showcase that he can fully return from his devastating knee injuries. Their SG spot is still vacant, but will most likely go to Courtney Lee, a player that has most likely had his best years behind him already. However, his experience and role playing will serve a huge purpose to this Knicks squad throughout the season. Like I previously mentioned, Carmelo Anthony might only have a couple of superstar years left, and having him healthy is essential for the Knicks to go deep in the playoffs. Porzingis’ development as a player will enable him to play even better as he gets more experienced, and as a rising star he can certainly do some damage on the court. He will put up more impressive numbers than he did in his rookie year. Noah will play with a burning passion to win, but will get injured sometime before the All Star break, but will return before the end of the season and finish strong.
All in all, this Knicks team has the potential to really do some damage; the real question is which players will stay healthy and which players will succumb to injuries. The main factors that’ll mostly determine the Knicks’ outcome is their starting lineup; and whether they can perform at an elite level to steer this team to the playoffs.