The New York Knicks are one of the most manic-depressive franchises in all of sports, not just the NBA. Adding Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah has brought more flair and expectations for a team that’s a work in progress, hoping it helps Carmelo Anthony ease up a little bit, while rising star Kristaps Porzingis delivers what’s expected of him.
After working from above and trying to fit in pieces around Anthony, Phil Jackson made some big moves to try and push the Knicks further. The big goal is championship in the Big Apple, always and forever. Not even bad Knicks teams managed to quell early-season enthusiasm, which often turns into something much worse very quickly. Bottom line: Jackson made the Knicks better (probably) and certainly more interesting with the kind of names on this team, but good enough to make the playoffs? Actually win a postseason series?
For Rose and Noah, this is a year of redemption. Especially for Rose, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season. If he wants to be considered a max deal point guard again, just putting up nice numbers while missing a lot of shots isn’t going to be good enough. He needs to present himself as an oncourt leader once more, and show that the team is actually better off when he’s playing, which wasn’t the case a lot of the time in Chicago last season. For Noah, it’s not that problematic: He has the long term deal no one thought he’d get from anyone, but it would make things easier if he at least stayed healthy all season long, while returning to his defensive form, all the while not embarrassing himself offensively.
Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah aren’t the only new kids on the block. Justin Holiday also arrived from the Chicago Bulls in that trade, but the two most meaningful additions this summer besides the two All-Stars (former) from Chicago are Brandon Jennings, trying to revive his career as a backup point guard in New York, and Courtney Lee, as solid of a shooting guard/small forward as they come. A player who defends well, shoots the three, and pretty much fills any role needed from him. He won’t create on his own or lead the team in scoring almost ever, but every team needs a player or two like Lee. It’s about time the Knicks had one. It’s these kind of additions that often end up making more of a difference.
Best Case Scenario
Making the playoffs alone isn’t enough in New York, but it’s a start after three years without any postseason games. But to make the Knicks really feel good about the season and the direction in which they’re going, it has to be a combination of three things: Winning a playoff series, Kristaps Porzingis showing he’s moving forwards towards becoming a star, and Rose having the kind of year players usually have when their contract is about to expire. The Knicks might still lose him at the end of the year, but if it works for both sides, no reason Rose doesn’t stay.
Worst Case Scenario
These are the Knicks, this is New York. Two straight wins and the whole city is dreaming of a championship. Two consecutive losses and it’s all going to s***. Missing the playoffs is the disaster here. There are small losses as well they don’t want to face: Anthony regressing, Porzingis hitting the second-year wall, finding out Noah is washed up, Rose remaining inefficient as he was last season in Chicago. But after two years of building, the Knicks don’t have the luxury of asking for more time to work out the smaller problems. Their key players don’t have too much time.