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Wednesday, 11 October 2017 10:00

New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics: 2017-18 NBA Season Preview

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New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics: 2017-18 NBA Season Preview | Powered by CLNS Media

2016-17 Round-up: The Knicks finished with their third straight season with 32 wins or lower with a 31-51 mark last season. Although the Knicks began the season 16-13 through Dec. 22, former Bulls teammates - and key additions - Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were huge disappointments, especially Noah. The 32-year-old Noah - who signed with New York for 4-years, $72 million - possesses the most unmovable contract in the league.

Rose spent the season searching for his shot, and although he managed to score 18 points per game (his most since 2012), he did so at the expense of touches for teammate Kristaps Porzingis as well as his overall defense (Rose’s .014 defensive win shares ranked 153rd among guards, according to NBA.com).

Carmelo Anthony’s trade value diminished to an all-time low. In frustrating fashion for NBA fans everywhere, the Knicks failed to trade him.

Even by the Knicks’ overtly dysfunctional standards, this was an all-time low season that featured the following:

-- Phil Jackson acting as president of the Knicks only in title.

-- Former Knick Charles Oakley getting arrested and charged with three counts of assault after being confronted by Knicks team security at a regular season game. Oakley was apparently directing insults at owner James Dolan, who Oakley has had a contentious relationship with.

-- James Dolan’s existence as owner.

-- Jackson publicly putting Porzingis on the trade block after Porzingis - the Knicks best young asset and perhaps their only building block - failed to show up for his exit meeting.

-- Jackson simultaneously calling out and putting Carmelo Anthony on the trade block in a dismal public display of passive aggressiveness.

-- Rose going AWOL for a game in January.

-- Despite a team wide boycott, Jackson still forcing head coach Jeff Hornacek and Knicks players to run The Triangle

-- The Knicks and Celtics played four times, with the Celtics winning three of four games, including a Christmas Day matinee that went down to the wire.

The Celtics crushed the Knicks by a combined 44 points in the other two meetings, while New York’s lone win against Boston came on Jan. 18 with an 11-point margin.

Offseason Grades: C-   

Carmelo Anthony’s stature among Knicks fans is confounding when you look back at his time in New York.

On one hand, Melo delivered just one playoff series win in six-plus seasons, posting a 7-15 record in the process. He also balked at playing power forward and helped drive out Linsanity. His attitude wasn’t as bad as we’ve seen from other players in similar situations, but by the end, his level of frustration and apathy became overtly apparent.

On the other hand, Anthony was - save for Kristaps Porzingis these last few seasons - surrounded by suspect talent.

Who was his best Knicks teammate? Tyson Chandler? A broken down Amar’e Stoudemire? A 40-year old Jason Kidd? J.R. Smith?

On top of the roster mismanagement, the never-ending circus that is James Dolan’s ownership appears poisonous from the outside. I can only imagine what’s like within.  

The Knicks look fundamentally different than last season’s version. Along with the huge void left by the trade of Melo, Rose is gone, as is Jackson favorite Sasha Vujacic.

In return for the 10-time all-star and 6-time All-NBA forward, the Knicks received Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick (via Chicago).

The team drastically overpaid for restricted free agent Tim Hardaway Jr., who was previously traded by the Knicks to the Hawks in 2015. Michael Beasley Replaces Rose as the former blue chipper from the ‘08 draft. The Knicks passed on Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk for projected defensive whiz Frank Ntilikina, while other rookie Damyean Dotson showed flashes of potential in summer league play.

Legions of Knicks fans are thankful Jackson has ended his reign of terror (although the head of the snake - Dolan - is still in charge). Hornacek goes into year No. 2 as head coach.          

Training Camp Questions: Will the team trade Anthony? Can Porzingis take the next step and be a consistent No. 1 scoring option? With Kanter in tow, will this be one the worst defensive teams in recent memory? Will Hornacek possess the freedom to coach to his liking? Does Ramon Sessions or the corpse of Jarrett Jack start at point guard? Will Hardaway Jr. live up to his contract? Will Beasley use more than 10% of his brain?

Next Move They Make: Rose was clearly not the answer at point guard, yet with the roster as is, it’s difficult to envision who the starting lead guard is going to be. Veterans Rose and Brandon Jennings failed to succeed as hoped last season, so the Knicks may be willing to try out a variety of players at that position. Kanter, Noah and Hardaway Jr., will make a combined $55 million this season (let that sink in for a moment).

How they Beat the Boston Celtics: Moving Porzingis around from the post to the perimeter; If Hardaway Jr., who averaged 18.7 points against the Celtics last season, catches fire from distance; If Spike Lee gets in Brad Stevens’ head and brainwashes him into believing the movie Hoosiers is trash, well then maybe...nah, not possible.

Trending: Knicks fans should be thankful that Porzingis is still with the team. Players of his ilk don't come along too often (if at all). Despite getting rid of Jackson, the constant drama surrounding this franchise and the stink of Dolan is too much.

Final Record/Standings Prediction: 26-56, 13th in Eastern Conference

The Eastern Conference is an absolute dumpster fire right now, particularly at the bottom of the conference, where there may be as many as five teams in the league competing for the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft by season's end (not counting the Knicks).

New York should be tanking. But are they smart enough to realize this, especially towards the end of the season when most of the league is out of whack?

Knicks fans could get behind a lot of the unknown players, but there is a serious dearth of talent this season in New York. It’s a shame, because Madison Square Garden is one of the great places to watch basketball being played. It’s too bad the Knicks do that in the loosest sense imaginable.  

Cory Prescott

Cory Prescott is the Editor at Large for Boston Celtics coverage on CLNS Radio. 

Cory is a graduate of Susquehanna University, graduating with a degree in Communications - Journalism.  While at Susquehanna, Cory spent three years as the sports editor for the school's weekly newspaper.  He also worked for the Crusaders Athletics Communications Department.

Following graduation, Cory spent time writing for the Maine Hockey Journal, as well as Boston Sports Then & Now, in addition to his own blog, Brain Freeze.

A native Mainer, Cory has been residing in Boston for the past few years.

Follow Cory on twitter @CLNS_Prescott.