By Brian Norris
The New York Knicks decided to go the free agent route this offseason by adding former league MVP and Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose. The Knicks also added Rose’s former teammate Joakim Noah, and the team added free-agent point guard Brandon Jennings, who has shown signs of brilliance in his six-year NBA career. Coupled with superstar Carmelo Anthony and breakout sensation Kristaps Porzingis, you would think the Knicks are a shoe in for the playoffs with their revamped roster.
“Not so fast, my friends,” as one esteemed college football analyst likes to proclaim when he disagrees with his colleagues. The Knicks will not make the playoffs in the 2016-2017 campaign. On paper, the team looks solid with the addition of Rose and Noah. However, Noah is at the tail end of his career and does not pose the defensive threat he used to. Rose cannot seem to get through half of an NBA season without injury. If Rose does manage to play more games than he sits out, he and Anthony will try to dominate the offense leaving their young and talented F/C Kristaps Porzingis as a mere afterthought.
Anthony is not the player he used to be and cannot dominate games like he once did, although his pride and ego will keep him from realizing that while he takes 20 or more shots a game. With new head coach Jeff Hornacek trying to implement his own style of the triangle offense, the team will need time to try and adapt. Rose, Anthony and Noah may not be quick to adapt to the new offense, and personalities could get in the way of victories, especially against superior opponents.
The defending champion Cavaliers dismantled the Knicks in the season opener. By committing 18 turnovers in an offense that is designed to limit turnovers, it could signal a very tough road ahead for the Knicks and the team’s playoff push. Several NBA insiders believe that the Knicks are a lock for this year’s NBA playoffs. However, the team will need to compete with the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, including the young and talented Raptors and the rugged Atlanta Hawks who signed Dwight Howard in the offseason. The Knicks may find themselves competing for the eighth and final spot toward the end of the season, but the team’s lack of youth will keep them on the outside looking in.
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