No more weird cities! The Knicks christen the brand new,
renovated transformed (get it right!!!) Madison Square Garden on Friday night when they host the Bobcats. While getting a look at the new building will be all rad and everything, what’s more important is that this is finally, mercifully, the last preseason game before Wednesday’s season-opener against the Bucks. Here’s what we’ll be looking for:
- Actually, seeing the shiny new MSG in action will be pretty cool. The Garden gave a media tour yesterday so a lot of pictures have been surfacing, but this will be the first real event there. Most notably, at least for the TV audience, it appears that the Knicks have a brand new floor. The color scheme is the same (sadly the team has not returned to the blue paint of the early 90s or the orange-lane, blue circle scheme of the mid-late 90s), but the physical floor appears to be a bit lighter than the old one (or maybe it’s just me?). For those in attendance (like our own Kevin Smith, who will speak to his experience in a piece tomorrow) there’s a new scoreboard, those crazy bridge/suites, and a brand new entrance. Should be fun! Ok, the PR portion of this piece has ended.
- Will we see Amar’e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and/or Kenyon Martin? It’d be nice to, especially in the case of Stoudemire and Martin if only to see that they can hop on a basketball court and exit in tact. There’s no question that the Knicks’ defense has been lacking, and we’ve seen a lot of Andrea Bargnani at the center position so far this preseason. The defense won’t improve much if/when Stoudemire plays center, but it will if K-Mart does, a fact that nobody seems to be bringing up. I suppose since Martin won’t play every game it’s hard to place a lot of faith on him, but I think he’s a huge upgrade defensively when he does play. As for Smith, if he can get on the court tonight, he might be able to start serving his 5-game suspension right as the season begins.
- It’s the final chance for guys like Toure Murry, Ike Diogu, and Cole Aldrich to convince the Knicks they deserve a roster spot. Note that I did not put Chris Smith in that group. Chris Smith should not make this team. He’s simply not good enough. He is, however, related to J.R., and apparently that carries a lot of weight at MSG. Murry is a far better player and has earned a spot over Chris Smith by a mile and a half. If Smith makes the team and Murry is released, expect #KnicksTwitter to spontaneously combust.
- I’m interested to see how Bargnani is received by the MSG crowd. If #KnicksTwitter is any indication, he’ll be booed like he’s Reggie Miller. But the in-building crowd is generally a lot different from the social media masses, and maybe the crowd will be in an awesome mood tonight what with the return of the Knicks and everything.
- It’s Metta World Peace’s first home game at Madison Square Garden since the spring of 1999 when he was at St. John’s. If for only one night, wouldn’t it be cool if the back of his jersey said “ARTEST”?
- The Knicks are unveiling/selling their brand new orange alternate jerseys at an event at MSG this afternoon. Maybe they’ll wear them?
- Please, everybody, stay healthy.