Photo Credit: NY Daily News
Optimism is an absolutely necessary trait when you are a Knicks die-hard like myself. Every season when October rolls around I try to convince myself, “This is our year.” My buddies laugh at me and my father calls me insane- but they can’t destroy my faith. Back in the dark days of Isiah Thomas, back when Eddy Curry was supposed to be the savior of New York, even when 5’9” Nate Robinson was our starting PG I still held out hope. Everybody ridiculed me when my team drafted Jordan Hill over DeMar DeRozan, Jeff Teague and ironically Brandon Jennings, I was still optimistic. Now, after a wild off-season of acquisitions, I present to you why this is truly “our year.”
Derrick Rose: When the season tips off this fall, Rose will be almost 2 years removed from his injury on his right knee. (http://www.foxsports.com/nba/derrick-rose-player-injuries) Last season Rose averaged almost 17 points per game and nearly 5 assists per game. Pretty modest stats for someone coming off of such a serious injury. Throughout the season his shooting percentage improved significantly, indicating he is getting comfortable with his body again and back to his old form. Having a penetrating point guard like Rose is something the Knicks have lacked for quite some time. We’ll finally have a player that can create his own offense other than Melo. This should take a lot of pressure and workload of Anthony’s shoulders. Most importantly, Rose is confident and has something to prove to the NBA and to himself. If we can see a glimpse of the Derrick Rose that averaged 25 points and 8 assists a game, then this is our year. (http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/r/rosede01.html)
Joakim Noah: Personally, my favorite addition to the new-look-Knicks. For 3 of the past 4 years the Knicks have been toward the bottom of the league in rebounds per game. (http://stats.nba.com/league/team/#!/) With Noah averaging almost 10 rebounds a game, combined with a stronger and more experienced PorzinGOD, and throw in Melo’s impressive 7 boards a game; the Knicks should be in the top 5 of the league in rebounding. Noah’s passion and tenacity on the defensive side of the ball will be something the team has missed since Tyson Chandler. Madison Square Garden will roar in approval after a Joakim Noah block, which we can expect to happen once or twice every game. The big man will be a great mentor for Porzingis to learn from. The x-factor with Noah is that he is a phenomenal passer for a center. He has averaged 4.5 assists per game over the past 4 season. This is great, for A) the triangle offense and B) considering there aren’t enough shots to go around for Melo, Rose and Porzingas to begin with at least we have someone to feed them the ball. Hey, maybe Derrick Rose was right, we are a super team after all. As long as Noah can stay healthy, which he has for 7 of his 9 seasons in the NBA, this is our year. (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/stats/_/id/3224/joakim-noah)
Brandon Jennings: If you are still reading this then maybe you are as delusional as I am and want to know how Brandon Jennings will help bring the first championship to New York since 1973. Yes, you read that right. It has been 44 years. But anyway, Brandon Jennings, could potentially run away with 6th man of the year award, sorry JR. As Derrick Rose’s back up he will have a way smaller work load then he has experienced in the past. This means his body will not endure as much wear and tear, and he’ll be able to stay healthy. Before his injury halfway through the 2014-2015 season he was averaging well over 15 points per game, as well as more than 5 assists and a steal or two a game. Recovering from an Achilles injury is no easy task, so it is not surprising that his numbers were down last year. However, according to his trainer he has been working harder than anyone and is more healthy and agile than ever. If this is true, than this is our year. (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nba/1553/brandon-jennings) (http://dailyknicks.com/2016/07/17/knicks-trainer-says-no-one-works-harder-than-brandon-jennings/)
Courtney Lee: This is a type of player we haven’t see on the Knicks as long as I can remember. Lee differs for two major reason. 1) He is an efficient shooter, Lee shoots 45% with only 8 shots a game. 2.) DEFENSE. Lee is a guard that Knicks fans can expect to play great defense. Courtney Lee wants to win, he turned down more money from the 76ers to join a Knicks team he saw promise in. If Lee can continue his defensive prowl and intelligent shot selection, this is our year. (http://nypost.com/2016/07/10/how-courtney-lee-shook-off-nets-horror-for-knicks-hope/)
So before you count out the Knicks, try looking at the glass half full.