The Knicks have a very different look compared to last years' squad. Only two starters are back this year; Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
The Knicks added Brandon Jennings and former MVP Derrick Rose at point guard, Courtney Lee to start at shooting guard, and Joakim Noah to start at center. Much rests on the health of these new players, who all have significant injury concerns. We can look forward to this team being more exciting than the Knicks have been in a while.
|Brandon Jennings Orlando Magic
Courtney Lee Charlotte Hornets
Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls
Joakim Noah Chicago Bulls
Justin Holiday Atlanta Hawks
|Arron Afflalo Sacramento Kings
Jose Calderon Los Angeles Lakers
Robin Lopez Chicago Bulls
Derrick Williams Miami Heat
Langston Galloway New Orleans Pelicans
Jerian Grant Chicago Bulls
New York Knicks Depth Chart
Rotation Player Projections
The Fourth Big Man
With Marshall Plumlee, Kyle O'Quinn and Willy Hernangomez as the only big men behind Kristaps and Joakim, the Knicks do not have the benefit of proven depth. The advantage of being so thin up front is it might force Hornacek to play more of Carmelo at power forward with Kristaps at center - which should be their strongest combination. Noah will get as many minutes as he can handle this year, the problem is that might not be very many minutes. O'Quinn has proven that he is capable of putting him high fantasy production per minute, he just hasn't been trustworthy enough to earn minutes. Could this be the year he puts it together and earns 25-30 minutes per night? Probably not, but it is an interesting opportunity for him.
Rise in Value
All of the Knicks that we know will be rotation players are projected to improve on last year's performances. Even the players projected for small increases, like Lee, are guaranteed to play as many minutes as they handle due to a lack of depth. The rise of a young player into a better player than we expect, like Justin Holiday (who shot 43% from behind the arc last year), could force a change in the rotation. We don't expect this to happen (Holiday shot 40% from inside the arc last year) but I just want to emphasize that none of these guys save Melo and Kristaps are going to amaze you this year, and we could see their role change over the season. From last year's Basketball Monster ranks, and our projections:
||Last Year's Rank
||Next Year's Projection
Decrease in Value
Even Sasha is expected to increase his rank from last year to this year, so he doesn't belong here (311 last year, 245 projected), but I didn't want anyone to make the mistake of drafting him. He is a prime candidate to lose his spot in the rotation due to lack of skill. Unfortunately, the Knicks have such a lack of depth in the backcourt that he will likely continue to play minutes. Last year, he made over two threes per 36 minutes so he might make his way onto some fantasy rosters as a waiver wire project as a streaming option.
Legally, Rose will likely not face jail time and therefore most likely not a suspension, which is important to note. He has also been much healthier than his reputation would indicate. Rose has always emphasized how important his contract is to him, and going into his free agency; I have no doubt Rose will want to protect himself. The counter to this concern, of course, is that the biggest doubt people have about his game is his health (besides his declining athleticism) so he might face a lot of pressure to stay on the court. The last two seasons he has averaged close to 60 games, so I would project similar this year. The best news for Rose owners is if the Knicks will be fighting for a playoff spot at the end of the year (or playoff seeding) as I have them projected.
Noah has had really good health for a big man with a lot of mileage on his legs. In nine years, Noah has one season with 29 games, one with 48 games, and the rest are all over 60. Unfortunately last year he played 29 games and historically when big man start to decline it is a reliable indicator of them never being the players they once were. We can probably expect Noah to continue to play as he has for the last few years, as a serviceable big man for the Knicks and a deep-league option in fantasy. If he thrives in the triangle (he is an ideal big man for the system), his numbers could be even better, in particular, his assists.
Kristaps PorzingisLatvian Michael Jordan
Kristaps did not finish the year last year as well as he started. There could be a sophomore slump for Kristaps. I don't believe that will happen, and I think the Knicks have a superstar ready for Melo's decline. His numbers and game would benefit the most if the Knicks embrace him playing more center minutes, which is always a possibility with a new coach and a lack of depth at the center position.
We usually know what we are getting from players of Melo's caliber with as many years in the league as he has. With such a new cast around him, it is hard to say for sure in this case. The floor is high for Carmelo, and he has a very high (top 10) ceiling too.
Brandon JenningsDeep League
I like Jennings as a sleeper this year. As he matures and grows to accept his role on a team he could improve on his per-minute numbers. If that happens, his minutes will also rise given the lack of depth in New York this year.