Love them or hate them, the Knicks are one of the NBA's most fascinating franchises. While many of the team's players and executives have earned the scorn of fans throughout the league, the franchise actually has some of the league's most passionate and knowledgeable fans (not to mention its smoothest announcer and best Lost analyst/post-game reporter). I was fortunate enough to speak with Posting and Toasting's Seth Rosenthal in order to get his thoughts on tonight's preseason matchup.
Q: Which match ups are going to benefit the Knicks? The Wizards?
A: It's pretty tough to say, having seen neither team play in months, but I figure the Knicks' frontcourt has an advantage over Washington's. Trevor Ariza's a fine defender, but Carmelo Anthony's pretty good at sports. Same goes for Emeka Okafor, but Tyson Chandler's a much bigger dude and should be able to overtake him down low. Nene vs. Amar'e Stoudemire ... I just don't know. I don't know what to expect from Amar'e right now, and Nene's the kind of guy who could put up big numbers against Amar'e if the defense and rebounding aren't there.
(Note: Nene won't be playing tonight, and neither will Amar'e).
It's hard to even guess how the backcourt shakes out, since we're not sure who besides J.R. Smith (who evidently won't start) will see minutes against Beal and Crawford. And who's starting for y'all at point with Wall out? A.J. Price? I don't see that being much of a problem for Raymond Felton, but I have no idea.
Then again, it's preseason and it's the very first game, so I could have this totally backward.
Q. If New York wins, it'll be because of _________ . If Washington wins, it'll be because of __________ .
A. Pretty much "leaving the starters in longer" for both, right? Hard to say how interested in winning either of these teams will be this early on.
Q. Is there anyone in particular on either team that you're looking forward to seeing?
A. I'm most excited about the Wizards' young guys. I don't know much about Beal and am interested to see what sort of role he settles into at this level. I also love Jan Vesely and am looking forward to seeing how much progress he's made over the offseason.
For the Knicks ...m an, everybody, right down to training camp invites like John Shurna, Mychel Thompson, and Henry Sims. I guess what I'm most looking forward to is seeing how Felton performs, and if his presence helps to meld the Anthony-Stoudemire-Chandler triumvirate.
Q. How happy are you with the Anthony/Stoudemire/Chandler nucleus? Why is/isn't it going to work this year?
A. .... well, hey! That nucleus has certainly been spotty since its inception, but I'm one of those who's still hanging on to injuries and rampant changes as obstacles delaying their cohesion. I think it'll work this season if 1. Amar'e and Melo are healthy and hitting open jumpers from their respective preferred spots. 2. Mike Woodson utilizes more ball and player movement to help those guys work off each other and 3. Raymond Felton plays effectively. Better preparation and point guarding could help a lot. Ultimately, they've got to make their open shots, which wasn't always the case last season
The Wizards square off against the Knicks at 7 p.m. EST on Comcast Sports Net.