Coach: Tom Thibodeau GM: Joel Mueller
The New York Knicks are back to their bad boy ways with a defensive squad that will absolutely smother opposing offenses. Coach Thibodea, a defensive guru and a guy who rules with an iron fist will have no trouble motivating this squad. He roles out a starting five led by Superstar Jamal Murray. Murray will put up Jordanesque numbers for these knickerbockers. He is flanked in the backcourt by Eric Gordon, who is still capable of putting up big numbers and will surely be asked to do more than just stand around in the corners while former teammate James Harden dribbled the air out of the ball. Gordon is an underrated defender and clutch scorer. At the forward positions Thibs rolls out three and D monster, PJ Tucker and a budding star in OG Anunoby. These two will be a nightmare for opposing forwards, centers and guards alike. Anunoby will have a little more freedom to create and score in a variety of ways. As always him and Tucker will be locked and loaded to drain corner threes at a near 50 percent rate. The big man in the middle, Steven Adams will free up with monster picks. One of the best pick setters in the league, Adams is also adept at being the roll man and is a tremendous pocket passer when teams try to blitz Murray. Adams is an excellent rebounder, individual defender and help defender and no amount of screaming or yelling from coach Thibs will phase the giant Kiwi.
Off the bench, Norman Powell leads with way with his 16 plus points per game average. He will be expected to push the pace, drain threes and drive gaps for rim racking dunks. He should be a sixth man of the year candidate. Also coming off the bench is swiss army knife, Delon Wright. He can facilitate offence, guard 3 positions and use his shifty moves and Euro steps to get to the basket. He's also a capable spot up three point shooter when called upon. At the 3 spot, the Knicks have the best defender in this years draft., Isaac Okoro. This guy is a potential rookie of the year candidate and can also guard 3 position and slash to the rack with reckless abandon. Fellow rookie big man Isaiah Stewart will also be ready to come in and throw bodies. He skyrocketed up the draft boards and was selected 13th for a reason. Rounding out the bench crew is a tremendous glue guy, defender and energy player in Daniel Theiss. Coming off bench will be a more comfortable role for him but he should be able to have major impact on the game. I would expect him and Adams to share the floor a bit together and totally frustrate opposition bigs. Coach Thibs will have to stagger his bench to ensure he has as many scorers on the floor as possible, especially with the second unit and closing lineups. I think a closing line-up of Murray, Eric Gordon, Powell, Anunoby and either Tucker or Adams, depending on match-ups would be the way to go for coach Thibs. This team will shoot threes, run in transition and have a steady diet of high pick and roll featuring Murray. Murray will put up MVP type numbers like he did against the Jazz in last years playoffs. Coach Thibs will install a defence that will grind opposing teams to a halt. 48 minutes of hell and scores in the high 80's and low 90's will have fans remembering the old Pistons teams of the late 80's.
PG: Jamal Murray 38/ Delon Wright 10
SG: Eric Gordon 30/ Norman Powell 10/ Delon Wright 8
SF: OG Anunoby 24/ Norman Powell 14/ Isaac Okoro 10
PF: PJ Tucker 26/ OG Anunoby 12/ Daniel Theiss 10
C: Steven Adams 32/ Daniel Theiss 12/ PJ Tucker 4/ Isaiah Stewart DNP