5 Story Lines for the New York Knicks in 2014-15


The season is almost a month away. Excitement is building; you can feel it in the air!

While there has been a lot of change throughout the entire New York Knicks organization, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Coming off an absolute brutal season, Knick fans need something to cheer about, and at the very minimum, they should be wildly entertaining this year.

5. Can Derek Fisher make the transition from NBA point guard to head coach?

  • It is extremely rare that a player jumps straight from playing to a head coaching position without any experience. However, we saw it last year in Brooklyn when Jason Kidd decided to retire from the Knicks to become the head coach of the new look Nets. While it started off bumpy, Kidd ended up leading his team to the playoffs and actually won a playoff series for the first time since ’06-’07 (he was actually their point guard back then). With Fisher, he’ll have the opportunity to work alongside Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons who both have plenty of experience. Throw in the fact that Phil Jackson will have a heavy coaching influence from the front office and you have a recipe for success. The question remains whether or not Fisher will be able to control J.R. Smith and get Carmelo Anthony to play more as a facilitator than a ball dominator.

4. Does Phil Jackson know what he’s doing as a General Manager?

  • While the simple answer is probably yes, it remains to be seen how he handles the in-season problems that will likely arise with the team. Many are in favor of what he has done to improve the team thus far (myself included), but will he make the right choices when the pressure is on? Can he maximize the value of his monstrous expiring contracts on roster? Of course his coaching resume speaks for itself, but that doesn’t always translate to front office decision making. So far so good, but keep an eye on James Dolan. If he stays true to his word and leaves Jackson alone, then I think Phil will do just fine. However, if he is meddlesome like usual, then you may see a Broadway circus.

3. Who steps up as the team’s leading shooting guard?

  • The Knicks are extremely deep at the shooting guard position with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Tim Hardaway Jr. That being said, it is up for debate who should start and how the minutes should be divided up. That will be on Fisher to decide (yet another area he will be graded on), but my instincts tell me it will be Smith. He is too perfect for the triangle to not succeed this year. He got off to a terrible start last year due to coming back way too early from his knee surgery, but we saw the real J.R. in the second half where he shot much better and could get teammates open shots. Shumpert is still an enigma solely due to him not making the jump that was expected of him last year. However, he is still an excellent defensive player and has position flexibility to keep him on the court. Hardaway Jr. can do one thing and thankfully he does it very well: score. Right now, I see THJ as more of a sixth man as he can come in the game and shoot the lights out with the second unit, or even help spread the floor with the starters. If he can improve his defense ever so slightly, he will make a serious case to start. Like I said, this is a big aspect to watch. As you can see, Fisher is going to have his work cut out for him in this department.

2. Can the Knicks rebound from an AWFUL 2013-14 season?

  • The Knicks were really bad last year. It was almost impossible to watch sometimes. What made it even more difficult to watch was knowing that they were one of the best teams in the NBA the year before. That being said, a lot can happen over the course of a year. There has been a lot of change within the organization so I’m leaning towards a bounce back year for New York. Will the triangle offense bring a sense of stability to a stagnant Knicks offense last year? The simple answer is yes as it does provide an actual plan on the court, but it will be interesting to monitor how quickly it clicks with the Knicks. They improved at point guard, theoretically small forward by moving Melo there, and the coaching staff (hopefully). Those areas were huge problems for the Knicks last year so by addressing those issues alone should give them at least a five game improvement. The front court has yet to be organized, but seeing that Tyson Chandler was no longer an elite center last year, I do not foresee a significant drop off there. Jason Smith and Samuel Dalembert, along with an increased role for Amar’e Stoudemire, should cover any potential loss caused by Chandler’s departure.

1. Will Carmelo Anthony fit the Triangle Offense?

  • Of course the number one story line will be about Carmelo! The face of the franchise will be under the magnifying glass this year like always. This time it is more about his fit in the new offense. Melo is used to a “stand-and-hold” iso ball offense with Mike Woodson, but now he is in for a challenge. He seems to be up for it as he has shed some pounds and is trying to be “more of a facilitator this year.” We touched on where Melo will fit into the triangle offense earlier this month, and I am still a strong believer he will succeed with this system in place. He is an excellent shooter and wants more than anything to win now. Keep an eye on whether he is willing to alter his playing style to help turnaround this Knick franchise.