After a long and rather active offseason, the NY Knicks took to the court this past Tuesday for their first taste of 2021-22 preseason action.
A rather lopsided affair, the Knickerbockers steamrolled past their long-time conference rivals, the Indiana Pacers, by a final score of 125-104.
Though the exhibition truly has zero impact on what their regular season will ultimately look like, for fans and, more importantly, the coaching staff, it was a nice glimpse at how this new-look roster can perform whilst running alongside one another.
With the multitude of transactions that New York’s front office took part in this summer, the expectation is that this team will only continue to build off of their surprising success from 2020-21 and, in turn, thrust themselves towards the status of Eastern Conference elites.
However, in order for them to secure this spot towards the top of the totem pole, there are several things that must go their way.
In regard to their own personnel, we believe that there are 3 X-factor players that will have major impacts on whether or not this squad will wind up reaching their full potential:
NY Knicks X-factor No. 1) Evan Fournier
Brought on this offseason via sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics, Evan Fournier is likely to have a massive role within New York’s scheme, specifically on the offensive side of the ball.
Last season, despite finishing the year off ranking third in the association in 3-point percentage (39.2 percent), the Knicks played a rather prehistoric game from long range, as they shot the 27th fewest attempts from deep.
This lacking drive to shoot played a rather sizeable role in their postseason demise last year, as they shied away from launching it from beyond the arc, shooting it at the fourth-lowest rate, and converted on said attempts at the sixth-lowest clip (34.2 percent).
Bringing on an established 3-point marksman was vital this offseason, and it looks like they got the perfect guy in Fournier to come in and strengthen their production from this area on the floor.
A career 38 percent 3-point shooter, last season the 10th-year veteran converted at a career-high rate from deep (41 percent) while also boasting a 75.5 percent effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoot attempts while with the Cs.
Having an efficient off-ball scorer like Fournier will only help stabilize their shooting game and, in turn, will help bring their offensive scheme to the 21st century.