2016-17 Record: 31-51 (12th in East)
Players Added: Michael Beasley (FA), Damyean Dotson (Draft), Tim Hardaway Jr (FA), Nigel Hayes (FA), Jarrett Jack (FA), Enes Kanter (Trade with OKC), Luke Kornet (FA), Doug McDermott (Trade with OKC), Frank Ntilikina (Draft), Xavier Rathan-Mayes (FA), Ramon Sessions (FA)
Players Lost: Carmelo Anthony (Trade with OKC), Justin Holiday (FA), Maurice Ndour (FA), Marshall Plumlee (FA), Chasson Randle (FA), Derrick Rose (FA), Sasha Vujacic (FA)
Projected Team MVP: Kristaps Porzingis
Carmelo Anthony is in Oklahoma City and, if it wasn’t already Kristaps Porzingis’ team in New York, it certainly is now. The 22-year-old big man is a very impressive prospect and, after two years in the NBA, he’s also an established player with real strengths in the immediate. With that said, Porzingis fits the bill as a player who is more famous and well-known than he is impactful at this early stage and this will be a big year for the Latvian center.
In short, Porzingis is the only top-shelf player on New York’s roster and, rather than placating to Anthony, it is widely assumed that Jeff Hornacek will center things around his best player. The 7’3 combo big averaged 18.1 points (on 45 percent shooting and 35.7 percent from three) a season ago but he will need to up his production on the glass and on the defensive end to live up to the considerable hype that Porzingis has amassed.
Can he be a top-10 player in the NBA? Maybe, but Porzingis does not currently have the varied offensive arsenal to achieve that goal without becoming a thoroughly dominant force on the defensive end. On the bright side, he is still very young and there is plenty of growth to project. On the flip side, the Knicks will be heavily reliant on him immediately and it remains to be seen just how Porzingis will handle that new role.