The Knicks unexpectedly finished last in the Eastern Conference and second last in the whole league. They battled many injuries and got off to a horrid start, leading to Carmelo to “shut down” for the year. In the second half of the year, the starting lineup for the Knicks basically consisted of bench players.
With the new acquisitions of Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn, the Knicks should definitely improve their record in hopes to return to the playoffs. Since it is only July, starting lineups are only speculation but they could look something like this:
PG Jose Calderon
SG Arron Afflalo
SF Carmelo Anthony
PF Derrick Williams
C Robin Lopez
*This is if Calderon doesn’t get dealt in a trade and if Derek Fisher decides to start Carmelo at small forward and not power forward.
As for the Eastern Conference, there were no major improvements during the off-season. The west will still dominate the East like in past years so a playoff spot will most likely be in reach for the Knicks. Fans should expect the first couple of playoff spots to be held by teams such as the Cavaliers, Bulls, Hawks and Raptors. This doesn’t mean that four other spots can easily be open. The young Milwaukee Bucks are on the rise and should contend in the East. Other than that, Paul George will look to play in full health, like he did in the ’13-’14 season, dropping 21.7 ppg. Fans should also expect the Miami Heat to improve and contend for a playoff run. They will have a healthy Chris Bosh back and their talented rookie from Duke, Justice Winslow.
The Knicks’ road to the playoffs is definitely not easy, even if they are in the Eastern Conference. Fans hope to see Carmelo remain healthy throughout the year. They hope to also see contributions from rookie and free agent additions. If they are able to gel, the New York Knicks can contend for a playoff spot one year after the worst season in franchise history.