Last Season: 31-51 (.378)
If Knicks fans were celebrating when Phil Jackson joined the franchise as team president in 2014 then they were out-of-body ecstasy tripping this summer when the Knicks and Jackson decided to part ways. If you dabble in masochism, Rodger Sherman has a well-done piece in The Ringer on all of Phil Jackson’s hopeless shenanigans during his term.
Now that the dark and turbulent phase of Phil’s presidency is over, it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Knicks. A remnant staff member of the Phil era is coach Hornacek. If things are not looking good at the beginning of the season, which is guaranteed to happen, questions will be murmured and soon after demanded about Hornacek. Was he hired based on his coaching merits or did Phil Jackson just hire him to be his puppet? Was Jackson holding Hornacek back and preventing him from coaching as he pleased or was Hornacek able to coach as he pleased and was simply bad at it? If Jackson was holding Hornacek back, he will be expected to maximize his players’ potential much more effectively now that he has some new found freedom from Jackson. Needless to say, he will be under the microscope by management this season.
What is Hornacek working with? Desperate for scoring, the Knicks signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a $72 million dollar contract and Michael Beasley who recently described himself as a “walking bucket.” These were not good decisions. They also traded for Enes Kanter who is infamously terrible at defense. To add to the consternation, for some reason the Knicks have five centers, and slim pickings when it comes to the point guard position. This is nothing new though since if you’re a millennial, the Knicks have had slim pickings at point guard for your entire lifetime. Nobody actually knows if nineteen-year-old rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina will end up being good, but everyone knows he will not be good this coming season. He might even continue to play third-string behind Ramon Sessions and Ron Baker. The Knicks are one of five teams where you can surely say they should have drafted Dennis Smith Jr. Oh yeah, and Willy Hernangomez is overrated.
Biggest appetite: While it’s too tempting to reference the story of how Michael Beasley stole a whole pizza once, Porzingis deserves the attention here. Both Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose averaged more shots per game than he did last season, which is a textbook example of how not to rebuild and develop potential star talent. This season should be a different story and the PorzinGod should be given every opportunity to run the show, even if it doesn’t work out 100% of the time. If Tim garbage Hardaway Jr. puts up more shots than Porzingis this season than no one will blame Porzingis for bolting to a new franchise as soon as he gets the chance. He has the potential to become one of the best basketball players ever, with a Dirk Nowitzki type offensive skill set yet more physical and powerful, along with legit rebounding and rim protecting. It’s up to the Knicks to put him in a position where he can grow and it’s up to Porzingis to take charge this season.
Vegas over-under: 30.5
Prediction: Under Without A Doubt
The Knicks are in a tough position. They want to give Porzingis a chance to truly become a star by giving him a lot of responsibility this season. They also want a chance to get another star in the 2018 NBA draft. At the same time if the Knicks continue to suck, Porzingis might end up leaving or worse, he might become jaded by a losing team culture. As for the Vegas over-under, there is no way the Knicks have a better record than the Hawks or the Nets. Expect scoring slumps, lots of turnovers, and atrocious defense for the full season ending with 25-wins.