The Knicks finally hit the down slope of their preseason on Monday, as they travel to Toronto to take on the Raptors for the second time in the exhibition schedule. Here’s what we’ll be looking out for:
- More boos for Bargs! Andrea Bargnani will play twice in his old building before getting to play in his new one, and we’re sure the crowd in Toronto will continue to boo their former No.1 overall pick. But we will have our eyes on Bargnani for more important things, like defense and rebounding, two things that it would be nice to see him try at on Monday night. Despite Knicks fans’ wishes, I expect we’ll see some more experimentation with Bargnani at the center position – hopefully things won’t turn into a layup line for the Raptors, as they did for a while last week for the Wizards when Bargnani “patrolled” the middle (quotation marks intentional).
- A few key guys won’t play, which is fine because it doesn’t count: Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton are both expected to sit, per the Knicks’ official website, and Pablo Prigioni is a question mark.
- With the back court thin, we’ll see a lot of Beno Udrih, who is obviously going to make the team, but also plenty of Toure Murry who hopes to make it. Monday will be a good shot for Murry to make another strong case, as he did last Thursday in Baltimore. So far, he’s shown a good two-way game; the ability to score while also being a nuisance on the defensive end. On defense is where he can really make a mark, because the Knicks’ need as many plus-defenders as possible on the roster. It’s early days but Murry’s athleticism and length, with some good coaching, give him the chance to be just that. And of course, the ever-enthralling battle between the front court extras rolls on between Ike Diogu, Cole Aldrich and Josh Powell, with Diogu probably leading at the moment.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. will likely earn his first start, and it will be interesting to see him get some quality time both with and against real NBA players. Playing well and fitting in while sharing the court with Carmelo Anthony, Bargnani, etc. could go a long way in giving Mike Woodson to get him in the rotation when the season starts for real. There should plenty of openings for him to score tonight, so we’ll see how he does.
- Nobody get hurt, please.