In the offseason, the Knicks didn't need to do much to improve. The roster was solid, but that didn't stop New York from bringing in two polarizing forwards.
Andrea Bargnani, the former first overall pick, was acquired from the Toronto Raptors. The price was steep, not so much in Marcus Camby, Steve Novak or Quentin Richardson, but in a first-round pick.
Metta World Peace was amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers and returned home to the Big Apple.
Once again, the Knicks have assembled a great roster, loaded with veterans. That doesn't mean that the Knickerbockers aren't without problems at the dawn of this season.
Amare Stoudemire very quietly underwent another surgical procedure on his knees. Head coach Mike Woodson will immediately monitor his minutes.
Then, there's the matter of reigning Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith. After an ill-fated suspension in the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics, Smith re-upped with the team in the offseason. It was hailed as the right move. He was the second-best offensive player for the Knicks behind Anthony.
However, Smith underwent knee surgery almost immediately after the ink dried on his contract. He may not be ready for the opener, but that date will be delayed no matter what. Smith was suspended five games by the league for violating the drug policy. (The suspension will begin as soon as he's healthy enough to play.)
Woodson said it was time for Smith "to grow up." Woodson also said that Smith has a chance to start when he's healthy.
Just before camp, owner James Dolan brought Steve Mills back as organization president and general manager, replacing Glen Grunwald. In two seasons, Grunwald made the Knicks Atlantic Division champs and vaulted them into legitimate title contenders.
That just seems to be another strange decision in the Dolan legacy. It shouldn't affect the on-court product too much. After all, Grunwald put a tremendous team together before being replaced by the guy who derailed the franchise.
2012-13 Results: 54-28, 1st in Atlantic. Lost in East semifinals to Indiana.
ADDITIONS: F/C Andrea Bargnani, F Metta World Peace, G Beno Udrih, C Cole Aldrich, C Jeremy Tyler, G Tim Hardaway, Jr.
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE:
PG- Raymond Felton SG- Iman Shumpert SF- Carmelo Anthony PF- Andrea Bargnani C- Tyson Chandler
KEY RESERVES: G J.R. Smith, F Amare Stoudemire, F Kenyon Martin, G Pablo Prigioni, F Metta World Peace, G Beno Udrih, C Cole Aldrich
FRONTCOURT: Anthony won the scoring title last season with a 28.7 ppg average. He rebounded well at 6.9 per game and he logged heavy minutes. What worked so well for Anthony last season was that Woodson played him at the power forward spot, creating matchup nightmares for the opposition. It sounds like Woodson is leaning toward moving him back to his natural small-forward position, but either way Anthony is one of the game's best scorers and is actually an underrated all-around star.
Bargnani will be the starter if Woodson goes with Anthony at the three. If Anthony stays at the four, then World Peace will probably get the nod.
But it seems like Woodson has fallen for his new Italian big man.
"He's one of those gifted players I think I can reach," Woodson swooned. "He's good enough to help us."
Bargnani can extend the floor with legitimate three-point range. He's been injury-prone and probably hasn't lived up to being the No. 1 overall pick. Plus, Bargnani makes a shade under $12 million. But, when on the floor, Bargnani is very productive. Over 97 games spanning the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, he averaged 20.8 ppg.