Only thing to catch this season is Knicks Fever. New York is ready to prove last year was no fluke.

At a glance last season, the Knicks were supposed to be a "nobody". Julius Randle wasn't a star, RJ Barrett wasn't Zion, and Tom Thibodeau was a coach of the past. Nobody considered the Knicks a factor, then the season unfolded.


New York ended it's seven-year playoff drought last season. They became the fourth seed in the east, and the the league’s third-most improved team. Their defense was stout, ranking fourth in the league, and Julius Randle shined as Most Improved Player and NBA All-Star.


Unfortunately for the Knicks, the unfamiliarity of the playoffs showed, losing to the Hawks in five games. Defense couldn't close out the series, showcasing their offense as one of their weaker spots. The offseason was the opportunity to improve and grow with this new found momentum. They returned key core members in Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and Taj Gibson. While swapping Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock for Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker. A strong draft and pristine practice, the Knicks maintained a prefect 4-0 preseason record and are ready to roll into the season tonight.


They didn't bring in a perennial talent, but the Knicks own a core of good hard working players. Led by a talented high-effort All-Star in Julius Randle, the roster is filled with effort and talent from top to bottom. The catalysts of the offense, Randle and RJ Barrett, both showed the league last year that they are legit. The starting rotation will feature new faces, Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. Cardiac Kemba is known for his iconic moments in the Garden, and will be the true point guard the Knicks have been desperately searching for. Fournier shined well for France in the Olympics, and shot shot 46% from 3-point range with Boston last season. The defensive anchor of the unit will be Nerlens Noel at center, who ranked second in blocks per 36 minutes last year.


The second unit is quite formidable, and should get Knicks fans excited. The floor general of D-Rose, is coming off one of his best seasons and was a contender for the 6th Man of the Year last season. Alec Burks rejoined as well, and he became a lethal shooter last season. His 46.5% on pull-up 3-pointers ranked second among 93 players with at least 75 attempts. Sophomores Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickly will provide solid minutes down the stretch, and hope to grow from their rookie seasons. IQ made a real impact off the bench, shooting 47% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Mitchell Robinson is back, bigger and healthier, and will provide key shot blocks and rim protection for the Knicks.


A deep ten man rotation, with Kevin Knox and Taj Gibson offering support, will be the main course for the Knicks potential success. Let's not forget the youth movement, that continues to grow for the Knicks. In the draft, they added talent from across the college level in the likes of Quentin Grimes (Houston), Miles McBride (West Virginia), and Jericho Sims (Texas). They weren't the names everyone expected, but they all fit the system quite well. All of this, and the Knicks have a complete roster that fans are finally quite excited for.


Julius Randle is becoming that guy for the team. He shined in his own regard, averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists, on 45.6% shooting last year. He remains as the teams top option, but new reinforcements will help lighten his load. The backcourt is a solid blend of proven players and great upside of youth. The combination of Barrett, Fournier, Walker, Rose, Quickley, and Burks is quite promising, and will help lead the efforts to improve the offense. The defense is the money maker for this team, especially with the paint patrolling three-headed frontcourt monster of Nerlens Noel, Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson.


The East is an intriguing battlefield this season. The 76ers and Nets, two of the conferences top teams, are dealing with internal issues. The Bucks lost some depth, while the Bulls reworked their lineup. The expectations are high for the Knicks, with the hopes to returning to the promise land once again.


As for the opener tonight, the Celtics will head to Madison Square Garden to see some old faces in new places. Kemba and Fournier joined New York this past offseason, and they hope to leave a spark tonight behind the arc. If they can unearth the Celtic's biggest weakness, (3-point defense, which they allowed 38% last season), then you can expect to see an opening night win.






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