2019-20 NBA Team Preview Series: New York Knicks
The 2019-2020 NBA season starts October 22th and to get you ready for tip-off, Off the Glass is previewing all 30 teams. Today we look at the New York Knicks.
2018-2019 Record: 17-65, 5th in the Atlantic Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference
Season Recap: David Fizdale’s first year as the Knicks HC was filled with as many twists and turns as a Stephen King novel. Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks 2nd round pick was a revelation ending the season second in blocks. The most shocking turn involved the Knicks shipping off their young star Kristaps “The Unicorn” Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr and multiple first-round picks. Knick fans were optimistic after all-star break when it was rumored marquee free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were eyeing a move to MSG but when it was all said and done the Knicks ended their season tied for the worst record in franchise history while Durant and Irving opted to play for the crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets.
Key Losses: Noah Vonleh PF, Mario Hezonja SF, Emmanuel Mudiay PG
Key Additions: R.J. Barrett G/F, Julius Randle PF, Bobby Portis PF, Taj Gibson PF, Elfrid Payton PG, Wayne Ellington SG, Reggie Bullock SG/SF
Preview: “Cautiously optimistic” is a phrase that adequately captures the vibe of most Knick fans heading into year two of the rebuild. After missing out on the summer’s marquee free agents, management opted to disperse its remaining cap space on veterans and reclamation projects on short-term deals. Julius Randle is the Knicks most recognizable addition and should provide stability in the frontcourt alongside Mitchell Robinson. R.J. Barrett seems intent on proving to Knicks fans and the rest of the basketball world that he wasn’t a consolation prize in this year’s NBA draft. Barrett comes advertised and will be given every opportunity on both sides of the ball to show what made him the #1 ranked high school recruit in the nation.
Kevin Knox remains one of the Knicks biggest mysteries; he showed flashes throughout the regular season but his inconsistency left Knick fans with more questions than answers. Dennis Smith Jr is another young Knick with something to prove, his abridged season was filled spectacular finishes and underwhelming box scores. Smith’s shot selection and decision-making may leave much to be desired, but his athleticism is undeniable. It’s said that teams are made in the winter and players are made in the summer. Let’s hope for the Fizdale sake that the young core is ready to take a major step in the right direction.
Player to Watch: Mitchell Robinson
Team X-Factor: David Fizdale
Worst Case Scenario: The young core falters and regresses giving way to David Fizdale’s firing.
Best Case Scenario: Mitchell Robinson inserts himself into MIP and DPOY conversations, R.J. Barrett wins ROY, and the overachieving Knicks finagle their way into the 8th spot in the playoffs.
Actual 2019-2020 Prediction: 35-47, 5th in the Atlantic