The New York Knicks have struggled for quite a few seasons, but it seems like the rebuild is beginning to take shape. I believe if the Knicks can get another top prospect in the draft, it will get them near a competitive level again. I believe this could be another rough season for the Knicks.
New York finished last season with a 29-53 record. The Knicks finished in fourth place of the Atlantic Division and eleventh in the entire Eastern Conference. New York is in the Atlantic Division with the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. Those three teams have the highest odds to come out of the East. This means the Knicks schedule will be filled with difficult divisional matchups.
I believe that the Knicks starting Point Guard is going to be Trey Burke. Burke only played in 36 games with New York last season, but he might have saved his career with his performance. He has been a disappointment since going ninth overall in 2013. Last season though, he was able to earn a spot on the Knicks and average 12.8 points and 4.7 assists per game.
The Knicks have a couple other options if Burke does not work out at the Point Guard spot. New York drafted Frank Ntilikina in the 2017 draft. He averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 assists per game. I believe he could develop into a solid starting Point Guard.
New York also has Emmanuel Mudiay as an option to play Point Guard. Mudiay is another high draft pick that never quite reached his full potential. He was traded from the Denver Nuggets last season. With the Knicks, he averaged 8.8 points and 3.9 assists per game. I expect him to fill more of a depth role this season.
The Knicks also have Mario Hezonja and Damyean Dotson as backup Guards on the roster. Hezonja spent the last couple seasons with Orlando. Last season he put up his best numbers, averaging 9.6 points, 1.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Dotson averaged 4.1 points per game with New York last season.
The Guard core for New York is not great. Their starters can be kind of shaky and inconsistent, but some of them can also put up solid numbers. I believe it would be huge for New York if Ntilikina could break out. Overall though, the Knicks’ Guards will be towards the bottom of the NBA this season.
Courtney Lee is the starting Small Forward for New York. Lee averaged 12.0 points per game last season with the Knicks. Lee played in 76 games last season. He does not play a huge role in the Knicks lineup, but he is a solid role player. I believe he is better fit for a bench role though.
Kristaps Porzingis will start at Power Forward if he returns this season. Last season, Porzingis tore his ACL and he is still recovering. His return date is unclear, and it could even be as long as next season. Before going down with injury last season, Porzingis was averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He is the Superstar of this team and his return is vital to the Knicks success.
The Knicks will likely have Lance Thomas start at Power Forward while Porzingis is gone. Thomas played in 73 games with the Knicks last season and averaged 4.1 points per game. He is a major step back from Porzingis.
The Knicks also have Noah Vonleh and Luke Kornet coming off the bench this season. Kornet averaged 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game with New York last season. Vonleh was with the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers. He averaged 4.9 points and 5.8 rebounds last season.
New York drafted Kevin Knox ninth overall in this year’s draft. Knox is coming from Kentucky, where he had a really solid year. I believe that Knox will start the season by coming off the bench, but he could take over Lee’s starting job before the season is over.
The Knicks lost Michael Beasley and Kyle O’Quinn to free agency this season. Beasley averaged 13.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. O’Quinn had 7.1 points per game. Both players played solid roles in the lineup last season and their absences will be missed.
The Forward core for New York is going to struggle tremendously without Kristaps Porzingis helping out. I believe, however, that Kevin Knox could instantly produce at a solid level for the Knicks. With some weaknesses around the lineup, Knox could for sure see plenty of minutes in the lineup to start the season.
Enes Kanter is the starting Center for the Knicks. Kanter started in 71 games for New York last season after coming over from Oklahoma City in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Kanter averaged 14.1 points and 11 rebounds per game with New York last season. He is a solid piece on this Knicks roster.
The Knicks have Joakim Noah, who can play both Center and Power Forward. He has been an absolute disappointment since signing with the Knicks a couple seasons ago. Last season, he averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in seven appearances. I believe that he could be bought out if he fails to impress this season.
New York drafted Mitchell Robinson in the second round this year. He is a gifted athlete size wise, but he did not play in his Freshman year at college. I believe that he could be a solid defender at the NBA level, but he will probably see minimal time this season.
The New York Knicks roster is lacking in a lot of ways without Kristaps Porzingis. I believe that their Guards are the strongest part of the roster in his absence. While they have some solid role players on the roster, nobody besides Porzingis can consistently take over games. Until Porzingis returns, I believe this is a bottom of the league roster.
BetOnline has the Knicks listed at a win total of 28 ½ wins. The Knicks had 29 wins last season, with Porzingis playing in 48 games. It sounds like it is possible that he misses more time than last season, which would make this Knicks team do even worse. I believe the best bet for New York is under the win total.