Real live New York Knickerbockers basketball is upon us. The Knicks begin the 2013-14 season hosting the new-look Milwaukee Bucks. Gone are the free-wheeling, oft-chucking back court duo of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, while in are the likes of Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Luke Ridnour, Caron Butler and Gary Neal.
Current Records – New York (0-0) FIRST PLACE!!! – Milwaukee (0-0) LAST PLACE HAHAHA!!!
What we’re looking for – For New York, the big question as of this afternoon lies in the starting lineup. It sounds as though we’re going to see Andrea Bargnani relegated to the bench in place of Metta World Peace, who will join Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler in the front court while Iman Shumpert and Ray Felton handle the guard spots. Still, expect Bargnani to play plenty. It will be interesting to see how much time he plays alongside Anthony, and what kind of defensive coverage Woodson gives that duo, if any at all – does he use either Chandler or Kenyon Martin as a “center” to cover the interior deficiencies? Or does he let Bargs patrol the paint and use World Peace and Shumpert out on the wing, hoping to deny penetration and lessen the need for a true rim protector?
Woodson has used some strange lineups in the past when he has a lot of options to work with; even with J.R. Smith unavailable, Woodson has a pretty full cupboard. How much time do Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih receive? How many dual point-guard looks does he use, if any at all? Will Tim Hardaway, Jr. play and if so, how much? Let’s play the damn game so we can get some answers!
Keys – It’s hard to predict in the first game of a season, especially with two teams who have added pieces that figure to be key contributors. The Bucks are a team with some legit interior size, so Tyson Chandler will have his hands full on the defensive and offensive glass as long as Larry Sanders is down there doing his thing. For the Knicks, we’ll look for a lot of the traits we saw last season, namely the ability to protect the ball and take and make a lot of 3-pointers.
We urge you to follow us on Twitter @TurnOnTheKnicks during tonight’s opener and the rest of the 81 (plus hopefully many more) games this season. Thanks!