Anthony, new faces hope to make run in East
Carmelo Anthony announced his retirement from international competition in August after helping the U.S. men’s Olympic squad win gold. But will he ever know the feeling of an NBA title?
Later this month, the 32-year-old superstar will begin his sixth training camp as a member of the Knicks. And, for a change, New York’s expected to be a bona fide player in the 2016-17 proceedings. Online sports book Bovada.lv currently gives the squad odds of +6600 to capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Handicappers’ more favorable stance toward the Knicks actually has little to do with Anthony, or even sophomore sensation Kristaps Porzingis. Instead, Madison Square Garden will soon welcome two of the most high-profile offseason additions of any team. Joakim Noah signed with New York as a free agent, following former Chicago teammate Derrick Rose (traded for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant) to the East Coast.
Thus, Kurt Rambis’ starting five should compete with any unit in the Eastern Conference. Rambis himself is an important piece of the puzzle, too, replacing the frequently lambasted Derek Fisher as head coach. Fisher never seemed to integrate president Phil Jackson’s preferred principles into a classic triangle offense. Conversely, Rambis oozes confidence with the X’s and O’s.
He’ll also have to handle personalities. While Anthony’s latest Olympic experience confirmed his development as a leader, can he share the ball effectively with Rose? Provided that the former MVP is even relatively healthy, we all understand his need to dominate the handle. A more concerted must also be made to feature Porzingis, who averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds as a rookie.
Noah and Duke product Marshall Plumlee will delight in cleaning the glass and gobbling up any garbage points; they’re critical to this squad’s climb back to relevance. A rather blasé bench, however, screates questions as to how deep this group can venture into the postseason. As it stands right now, eight East teams own better odds to reach the Finals.