2017-18 NBA team preview: New York Knicks

After a blockbuster trade and a change to the front office, the Knicks are all-in on rebuilding this coming season.

2017-18 NBA team preview: New York Knicks
The departure of Carmelo Anthony has opened up a lot of promise for the Knicks. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images North America

The New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder orchestrated a blockbuster trade, sending Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. That marked the beginning of the official reboot for the Knicks, a true commitment to younger, coachable, athletic players. Aside from Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee, the Knicks more or less have a youthful core, one which they hope to take advantage of for the future.

NBA Draft

Ntilikina appears to be a key cog for the Knicks organization. Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America
Ntilikina appears to be a key cog for the Knicks organization. Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America

With their first-round pick, the Knicks selected Frank Ntilikina, an  18-year-old, 6-6 point guard playing out of France.

His defensive potential is one of the major focal points for the Knicks, even though he's very skinny at his age. Ntilikina has played three years of professional basketball in Europe, and although he's averaged mediocre numbers overseas, he figures to become a much better player in the NBA. There's no telling whether he'll start or not, considering his placement in the projected depth chart, but Ntilikina is still going to be one of the pieces to the puzzle for the rebuilding process the Knicks are finally committing to.

In the second round, the Knicks selected Damyean Dotson and Ognjen Jaramaz. The latter will likely remain overseas as a stash player, whereas Dotson could potentially filter in and out of the regular season roster. However, Dotson is probably going to end up in the G League after all is said and done. 

Free agency

The Knicks lost a couple of players to free agency but gained some youth in the process.

Derrick Rose and Justin Holiday are the two biggest names that the Knicks let walk in free agency. However, if you also take into consideration the Anthony trade, he will have been the biggest loss the Knicks took this offseason.

Rose joined the championship-hungry Cavaliers. Photos: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America
Rose joined the championship-hungry Cavaliers. Photos: Jason Miller/Getty Images North America

Again, the Knicks ditched Anthony and gained Kanter and McDermott. To fill the gaps that Holiday and Rose left, the Knicks signed Jarrett Jack and Ramon Sessions. Neither of the two newest guards is a young player, but they both figure to play an important role as mentors for Ntilikina and the other guards. Michael Beasley is another name the Knicks took in this offseason.

The Knicks also took back a familiar face in Tim Hardaway Jr. who is coming off a career-year with the Atlanta Hawks. He signed a four-year, $72-million deal and is now one of the highest paid players on that team.

The Knicks didn't necessarily win big in free agency, but the team will prosper because of these moves.

Depth Chart

The ESPN depth chart for the Knicks can be found here, but I'd like to go ahead and mix up the options to form the depth chart I think will be set in stone.

PG - Frank Ntilikina/Ramon Sessions/Jarret Jack/Ron Baker

SG - Tim Hardaway Jr./Damyean Dotson

SF - Courtney Lee/Lance Thomas/Doug McDermott

PF - Kristaps Porzingis/Mindaugas Kuzminskas

C - Willie Hernangomez/Enes Kanter/Kyle O'Quinn/Joakim Noah

There is always room for change here, and the preseason is still in play, but the depth chart should more or less look like it does above if Head Coach Jeff Hornacek wants to test his younger athletes.

2018 NBA Draft

The Knicks retain their 2018 first-round draft pick and gain a second-round pick from the Anthony trade. There is another second-round pick the Knicks can utilize but that depends on whether or not the Philadelphia 76ers want to swap their pick with the Knicks. The Knicks would receive the worse of the two picks from the 76ers in this case. The pick the Knicks received from the Thunder is theirs alone.

Hornacek has a bundle of players to coach that could be amazing in the coming years. Photo: Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America
Hornacek has a bundle of players to coach that could be amazing in the coming years. Photo: Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America

There are a couple of big names in this coming draft, but with the reinforced tanking rules, the Knicks will have a much harder time securing a top-3 pick in 2018. Nonetheless, the Knicks are not the most talented team in the Eastern Conference this year so earning a high pick in the lottery is not out of the question. 

2017-18 Season predictions

The Knicks are not without talented players, but since they are committing to a rebuild, there are not high expectations from New York heading into the 2017-18 season. Ntilikina, Porzingis, and Willy Hernangomez, the big three of the Knicks' rebuild, all figure to get an ample amount of touches while running the ball up and down the court. Their development is integral to the future of the Knicks organization, and Hornacek will likely focus on them greatly as the year drags on.

Meanwhile, veterans like Beasley, Lee, Jack, and Sessions will play an important role in guiding the younger players to a professional, talented career. 

The Knicks will get the best out of their vets this year, but with the low ceiling on talent, the Knicks will be an eighth seed at best, with a record of 41-41. There's no doubt in my mind that, if the Knicks make the playoffs, they see a quick exit. However, it will all be a growing process and it's a necessity for the younger Knicks to see some adversity.