1. New York Knicks
Of course a lot of people over at ESPN will scoff at the idea of the Knicks returning to the top of the division. In reality, this idea is not as farfetched as people believe.
The Knicks have been stuck in front office turmoil since the late 90’s and have never truly recovered. For the first time in a long time, the Knicks will have some stability in the front office with the Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson, returning to New York to right the ship.
New York is only a season removed from winning 54 games and a division title. They are still loaded with talent; it’s simply a matter of whether or not they play up to their potential. Maybe all they needed was a fresh set of voices in Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher to help them get back to where they were a year ago.
Not only did the Knicks improve their front office, but they also added key pieces that will improve the team as a whole. Their glaring issue at point guard was addressed with a substantial upgrade, they resigned one of the best players in the NBA, and they found a way to acquire younger players at the cost of virtually nothing. Yes, they lost Tyson Chandler, but they found a way to replace him with cheaper options that fit this team’s philosophy much better.
J.R. Smith was his normal self the second half of the season after coming back too early from knee surgery at the start of the season. Tim Hardaway Jr. will have an opportunity to thrive in his sophomore year, and Jose Calderon will be a perfect fit with this New York system.
Look for a huge bounce back season for the Knicks. In New York, it’s all about the triangle offense this year and how quickly they pick up on it. The quicker they do, the scarier they become.
Key Losses: Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton