Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Ron, the lead editor of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.Com – great source of NBA news and rumors. You can follow @NBAFantasyInfo via Twitter or via Facebook page for more updates.
New coach, new general manager, and new style of play. Even for a playoff team, those three changes could spell disaster the following year. The Knicks, on the other hand, hope that the changes will bring positive energy, and probably a playoff position. Their offseason moves do not show that they improved a lot. They switched Chandler and Felton for Samuel Dalembert and Jose Calderon. They managed to get few other players, but those are mostly rotation fillers. For the Knicks, 2014-2015 might serve as a learning process, as their main players (Carmelo) learn to function in the triangle and an offense with lots of passing, cutting and positioning. They might make the playoffs as an 8th seed, but that is their ceiling.
Carmelo in the triangle
It is clear that Anthony has struggled to score in the triangle. Through five games, he is averaging 19 points and shooting 40% from the field. Those numbers are catastrophic for a natural scorer like Melo. In the past two games, both loses, Anthony shoot 5-21 and 8-23. The biggest problem with his inefficiency is that he is rarely attacking the basket. His free throws are down to 4 per game, which is the lowest of his career. However, he has increased his assist number, which is what the triangle strives to achieve. The goal is for the ball to move constantly, until it finds the best shot. And for Anthony, the difference is that he is shooting and scoring less from isolation situations. Half of his made baskets in the first five games have come off assists. Last year, 38% of his shots came off assist. However, learning the triangle and perfecting it is not something that happens overnight. It will require time, and by the end of the season, Melo might learn the tricks and nuances of the offense and master it as Jordan and Kobe did it before him.
Eyes on the summer of 2015
Next summer, the Knicks will have valuable cap space for the first time since 2010, when they signed Amare Stoudemire. That albatross contract runs its course, same as the contract of Andrea Bargnani. It is unclear how much space the Knicks might have, but they can slot one max player next to Melo for sure. What are their options?
The class of 2015 includes unrestricted free agents Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Robin Lopez, Rudy Gay, DeAndre Jordan. While it is not special, it is more than decent. If the Knicks nab Rondo, they’ll consider themselves lucky. If they manage to get Gasol, they’ll win the summer.
The fun part is several other players hold player’s option, and might become free agents as well. That list includes Al Jefferson, Arron Afflalo, Brook Lopez, Goran Dragic, Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert, Monta Ellis, David West, and Knicks own J.R. Smith.
If things go south this year in Cleveland, both LeBron and Love hold player options. While it is unrealistic to think Bron will leave, Kevin Love might look for greener pastures.
The Knicks can also go another route, and throw max money and some tricks at Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs didn’t extended him this summer, making the MVP of the NBA 2014 Finals a restricted free agent next year.