Few teams had a more interesting and productive offseason than the NY Knicks. First they dug into their deep pockets and signed Tyson Chandler to lucrative contract. Then they signed point guard Baron Davis after the Cleveland Cavaliers amnestied him. Chandler helps the give the Knicks a defensive toughness that they’ve lacked since the coaching days of Jeff Van Gundy. Davis on the surface seems like a bad idea. He’s never been shy about jacking up shots and Mike D’Antoni’s system could encourage his worst tendencies. OTOH, Davis played particularly well in Cleveland last season, and he has much more to work with at Madison Square Garden than he did last season either with the Cavaliers or the L.A. Clippers. The Knicks will also benefit from a full season of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire playing together.
Knicks fans are giddily dreaming of a second round playoff matchup, and they could get it. If Orlando finally unloads Dwight Howard, then the Knicks might have homecourt advantage in the first round too.
The main caveat isn’t the ability of the core players but their ability to stay healthy. Chandler and Davis have sketchy track records when it comes to staying on the floor (Davis is already out till February), and this compressed 66 game schedule won’t do either man any favors. Unless the Knicks cultivate some depth, they will be highly dependent on their starters and their starters health for their success. I could easily see the Knicks going 40-26, but a knee problem here, a back issue there, and that won loss could reverse itself.