Before he became "Skizzy Mars," Myles Mills was a basketball prodigy and frequent contributor to TKB. Now that his grind has slowed down after getting a record deal with Atlantic, he again has time to weigh in on his beloved Knicks. I'm proud of his success and happy to see him back here with the following thoughts about the 2016-2017 season...
This time last year was vastly different. The Knicks finished with a 32-50 record, and did little to change the opinions of pessimists and Carmelo Anthony haters. This year is a lot different. The East is no longer the push over conference.
The Knicks success will depend on two factors: their ability to stay healthy and minimize injuries, and their bench production. The training staff has an important year ahead of them. Joakim Noah has missed 68 games his last two seasons, Lee has amassed 69 GP his last two seasons, and we have all heard more than enough about Derrick Rose's unfortunate injury history.
I don't foresee chemistry being as much of an issue as others. Derrick Rose can still get in the paint, he just has trouble finishing, and with Kristaps Porzingis and Noah at the 4 and 5, he has bigs to dish it out too. Lee shot 39% from 3 last year, and I foresee Anthony shooting a career high from 3. The bench is the big question mark.
Anthony (7) and Porzingis (6) against the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger | USA Today Sports)
Can the Knicks count on Kyle O'Quinn to play important minutes? Can Brandon Jennings be a consistent spark plug off the bench? Can the Knicks European rookies, Willy Hernangomez and Mindaugas Kuzminskas, continue their impressive preseason play? Can Lance Thomas have a second consecutive productive year?
If the preseason is worth anything, the Knicks were 5th in offensive rating and 10th in rebound rating. Although their defense was subpar, they distributed the ball extremely well and they attacked the boards. In a tough Eastern conference, they have the ability to make some noise. Anything below 45 wins has to be a disappointment...