The New York Knicks travel north of the border tonight to take on the Toronto Raptors in their second pre-season game. An Andrea Bargnani homecoming! Steve Novak with a chance for revenge on Mike Woodson! Landry Fields bricks! Oh the drama…here is what to watch for.
1. Shump Cooking – Iman Shumpert was a perfect 7/7 for the field in the Knicks pre-season debut and played aggressively on offense, which is such an encouraging development that you can already feel Jimmy Dolan itching to trade him (just kidding, I hope). Regardless, let’s hope Shumpert continues to shoot the ball well and most importantly, stays healthy.
2. Not A Warm Welcome – Andrea Bargnani is sure to be showered in Canadian boos…which isn’t really the Knicks concern and hopefully won’t concern Bargnani either. There were some encouraging signs from the big man the other night. If he can keep getting to the foul line, he may be a solid 12-14 PPG type guy here. However, the contested long range 2s need to stop.
3. THJ – First round pick Tim Hardaway Jr. is pushing for a rotation spot, especially with JR Smith starting the season on the sideline. If Hardaway is going to keep knocking down open jumpers on the wing, will Woodson roll him out with the second line this November? He certainly looks ready to be a competent role player with the second unit but let’s see how his consistency is.
4. Final Roster Spots – It was a “meh” debut for CJ Leslie and Cole Aldrich. The final two spots on the Knicks roster remain up for grabs with Josh Powell, Ike Diogu and Jeremy Tyler also in the mix. It will be interesting to see how Woodson divides up the second half minutes and what combinations he rolls with after the veterans get a little burn in.
5. Health. Health. Health. – The most important thing in any of these games is for everybody to stay healthy…and for Clyde to figure out all his pronunciations for the regular season. Don’t never lose sight of that.
6. Pre-Season Novak Double Check – Will we see it?