The New York Knicks have some reasons for concern as they set out on their new season. A lot of changes could create something positive, but this team will probably need time to get going. The NBA odds show them with a win total that expects them to be right around .500.
2014-15 Regular Season Total: 41
Why the Knicks Will Go Over the Number
The New York Knicks have to be excited about the fact that they get to start fresh this season. Phil Jackson runs the basketball operation, and Derek Fisher is the man he selected to be the head coach of this team. Fisher played under Jackson for many seasons in Los Angeles as a member of the Lakers. He knows what he needs to do in a Jackson-run organization. He is a first-year head coach, and he’s also someone who went straight from a playing career to a coaching career in much the same way that Jason Kidd did with the Brooklyn Nets, right after his playing days were over. Kidd did a better job in Brooklyn than many expected, although he then made the odd move of going to the Milwaukee Bucks and insisting on power throughout the organization. Fisher’s not going to leave New York after one season, but many people are wondering if he can make the cut. The fact that Jackson will be in the background, sure to give advice over the course of the season whenever Fisher wants it, should help steer things in the right direction.
What will also help the Knicks is that they get a new look at point guard, with Jose Calderon in and Raymond Felton out. Felton was undersized and a general liability on defense. New York was a terrible team in terms of guarding the perimeter. It was one of the five worst teams in the league in terms of opponents’ three-point shooting percentage, placing 27th. The Knicks were 28th in made three-pointers allowed. Felton also didn’t break down defenses enough. The Knicks were 28th in the NBA in free throw attempts last season. That’s just not going to be sufficient to make the playoffs, and it wasn’t. Calderon plus a new offensive system can give the Knicks the results they want.
Why the Knicks Will Stay Under the Number
New York cannot expect Fisher’s changes in the Jackson regime to take root right away. This is a long-term process, an overhaul of a team that disintegrated under former coach Mike Woodson in 2014 after the 2012-2013 season seemed to suggest a lot of progress was going to continue to come to New York. When the whole organization took not just one step, but several steps, backward, it became clear that sweeping changes were needed, because Woodson had lost this team without the realistic possibility of returning it to the level it attained in 2013, getting a number two seed in the playoffs before losing to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
In the long run, this is good for the Knicks, but in the short term, there’s probably going to be a lot of pain. Tyson Chandler and his him protecting will be gone – they’re now in Dallas. Andrea Bargnani is going to continue to be a drag on this team defensively, highlighting how the Knicks’ bad player personnel moves are going to hamstring the Jackson and Fisher Show. New York wasn’t just a bad free throw team last year on offense. It was a bad free throw team on defense, finishing 25th in made foul shots allowed and 23rd in free throw attempts allowed. The Knicks might be a better passing team this season for the reasons listed in the above section, but they were 28th in the league last year because Carmelo Anthony was wedded to the jump shot. A lot of habits are going to have to be re-established, and with a new system, that doesn’t happen overnight. This team is going to struggle this season, and fans have to be ready to accept that.
The under is the better choice for your NBA picks this season.
NBA Pick: Under 41