Saturday, May 31, 2008

NBA Offseason Preview - New York Knicks

New York Knicks
2008-2009 Payroll (Source: $91.0M

Draft Pick: #6

After having a comparatively good season in 2006-2007, the Knicks once again reached rock bottom. This time, hitting rock bottom resulted in some measure of accountability for the organization. Though supported by young talent (Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, David Lee, Renaldo Balkman, Mary Collins), the veteran core of Stephon Marbury, Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry and Quentin Richardson has disappointed on a regular basis.

There is hope for the Knicks, but it hinges on their ability to find a true point guard. That statement holds exponential truth when factoring in the D’Antoni system’s dependence on a quality point. One fair expectation for the Knicks and The [New] Six Million Dollar Man is that players not take plays (quarters, games, road trips, or perhaps even seasons) off.

Burning Questions:
All questions stem from this one. What roster moves will Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh make upon taking charge of the Knicks? The less na├»ve question is: What roster moves they will be able to make given the number of albatross contracts they have in their arsenal?

Is there an existing true point guard on this roster who can include his teammates and invigorate the hapless core of veterans?

Will Nate Robinson be used in a role similar to Leandro Barbosa in Phoenix?

If David Lee does not end up fitting in with D'Antoni's style, will the Knicks be smart enough to capitalize on his value to other teams by packaging him with a bad contract in order to land a player at a need position?

Perceived Needs: True PG, Athletic (Scoring) PF, Heart

If I Were GM … I would evaluate Marbury’s psyche on a daily basis. If the Knicks are to be successful with the players they have, Marbury having a defined role and executing in that role is extremely important. Marbury is in a contract year in which $21.9M comes off the books. Also coming off the books is the contract of Malik Rose ($7.6M) who was once a key cog for the Spurs’ championship runs.

With the #6 pick, the Knicks are in no man’s land given that most of the talent in that pool consists of shooting guards, shoot-first point guards and small forwards. I would attempt to trade down in order to avoid reaching for a true point guard not named Derrick Rose. If not afforded that opportunity, I would select the best player available who would the D’Antoni system.

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