"The New York Knickerbockers 2002-23 Season......" Wed Sep-21-22 09:58 AM by Castro
This is a make or break year for the front office, the coach and the players. After a tumultuous season which saw us get out the gate fast, then have Thibs basically submarine what was left of Kemba Walker's career, things went south, until injuries and pressure from the front office forced Thibs to play the youth, and we saw a bright future in flashes from Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes and Jericho Sims. RJ Barrett emerged as a strong #2 scorer with a huge upside. However, All star Julius Randle regressed, making horrible decisions with the ball, showing terrible leadership skills, and eventually being shunned by the fans.
The summer was dramatic - the Knicks signed Jalen Brunson from the Mavs, bringing a solid shooting playmaker to run the team. I personally advocated for Dejounte Murray, as Brunson is being thrown into a lions den of point guards in the East. The Knicks were then tied most of the summer to another hometown kid, Donovan Mitchell, who was seen on social media attending numerous events in NYC, but ultimately, Danny Ainge's greed led us to dodging a bullet, as Mitchell, although a talented scorer, would have meant the Knicks would have a starting backcourt with two 6 foot guards.
So that business is all behind us now. Derrick Rose reported to camp in fantastic shape, saying he is "his rookie weight and the healthiest I have felt in a long time." Don't fuck that up Thibs!
The enigmatic Cam Reddish has had a whole summer to work out with the team and gives us a versatile scoring wing off the bench who could possibly start.
Evan Fournier returns from a busy summer leading France to the EuroBasket finals and will now be paired with Brunson as a starter (unless Thibs actually embraces the youth movement and decides to start Grimes).
Mitchell Robinson has a new contract, is healthy and has been working on free throws (and other drills for shots he will rarely if ever take in an NBA game, although his three point stroke looks better than his work at the charity stripe).
The Knicks other notable acquisition was Clips backup center Isaiah Hartenstein, who can ball and will be a good change of pace when Mitch picks up his two fouls in the first 6 minutes of the first quarter.
So Thibs is on the hot seat. He has the horses to make the playoffs, but he has to develop a rotation that gives the younger players time and keeps his vets fresh (see D Rose). The offense is going to run through Brunson who will have a strong shooter in Fournier, a slasher in Barrett and a do it all star in Randle to keep happy. The offense often stagnated when the ball was in Randles hands, but hopefully they get Julius on the move, where his size and mobility makes him dangerous.
With proper coaching, this is a 50 win team, that could pose problems in the second season. Our biggest issue is going to be bigger guards bullying on Brunson. Our second unit is going to be spectacular, with Rose, IQ, Grimes, Cam, Hartenstein and Sims terrorizing teams. Because Thibs has been notoriously limited with his rotations, this is all conjecture. He can realistically play 10, but is inclined to play 7. The days of Pat Riley and KC Jones are long gone. Bench flexibility and having players you can plug into the starting lineup is what makes for a successful run. I want to see Thibs make the jump too, but I am not optimistic about it. If he trends towards his past coaching habits, I hope Leon Rose and Wes pull the plug early and get a coach who understands the pieces.