Out with the old, and in with the new, the 2017-18 New York Knicks are once again the “new look Knicks.”
At the end of the 2016-17 New York Knicks season, there was undeniable evidence that there would be dramatic changes throughout the entire Knicks organization. Coming off a disappointing 31-51 record last season, it was evident that change was necessary in order to achieve relevancy in the near future, and the Knicks didn’t fail to shake things up.
Headlined by the firing of Phil Jackson and the trading of Carmelo Anthony, the Knickerbockers look to start the organization off on a clean slate in the 2017-18 season. There are reasons to be excited and optimistic about a potential future for some of the young Knicks, and if the preseason is any indication, there is proper evidence not even to pay attention to the Knicks at all.
This upcoming season will serve as an indicator as to who can be expected to have a significant role on this team for years to come. There are a few things to watch for this season, and the position battles will be paid close attention to all season, especially at the point guard position.
Battle For Point Guard Position
The Knicks first-round draft pick Frank Ntilikina enters this season as an unknown commodity. Ntilikina missed all of the Orlando Summer League and four out of five preseason games due to injury.
There was a slight possibility that Ntilikina could begin the season as a starter, but all of that was practically erased due to his lack of availability. Veteran point guard Ramon Sessions appears to be the favorite to man the starting point guard for the time being.
The question is, can the 19-year-old Ntilkina play his way into manning the point guard position for the New York Knicks? That position battle will be something worth keeping an eye on.
Can Kristaps Porzingis Take The Next Step?
With Carmelo Anthony being traded, Kristaps Porzingis now officially steps in as the face of the franchise. Porzingis will soon be the focal point of the offense and carry a heavy workload night in and night out.
It remains to be seen how KP will handle that role. The skill set is there and the potential is unquestioned — the only thing left to check off the list is the execution factor, and Porzingis has to be the centerpiece of this team for years to come.
The Knicks reunion with Tim Hardaway Jr. will aid KP in his claim to become an NBA superstar. Hardaway’s scoring abilities will take some weight off the back of KP and hopefully take some pressure off of him as well.
Is Jeff Hornacek The Man For The Job?
Last season was a bit of a disaster to say the very least. Jeff Hornacek was in many ways a puppet for Phil Jackson. Hornacek was unable to coach his team the way he wanted in any given scenario without Jackson breathing down his neck.
With the triangle offense out, there are no more excuses for Hornacek. While it would not be fair to assess Hornacek off of the number of wins the Knicks end up with, due to the lack of talent on his roster. It is up to the head coach to push this team in the right direction and develop his players correctly.
If there is clear progression by players such as Frank Ntilikina and Kristaps Porzingis, then Hornacek deserves real consideration to coach this team over the next couple of years.
The 2017-18 Knicks season will be filled with flashes of brilliance, and more often than not, bursts of brutality. However, in the end, this season is all about building for the future and closer towards the ultimate goal: to win an NBA Championship.
[Featured Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]