New York Knicks 2008-09 Fantasy Preview

All previews follow the same format. I’ll be going in depth only on the players worth owning in a standard 12-team league, followed by players who you might consider as injury handcuffs/deep sleepers. As always, it starts with the most valuable player on the team:

Jamal Crawford (SG)

Helps: Points, 3-pointers, FT%, Assists, Steals

Hurts: FG%, TOs

As with all of the Knicks, Crawford’s definitive value will lie in the hands of new coach Mike D’Antoni. Early reports indicate that D’Antoni will be implementing the same philosophy he had with the Suns: play uptempo and get as many possessions as possible.

If that’s the case it will be a tremendous benefit for Crawford.

Not matter what style New York plays, Crawford is going to have a poor FG% and a around 2.5 turnovers per game. But if the Knicks maximize their possessions each game it will mean more shots attempts, more points, more trips to the line, more 3-point attempts, more steals and more assists for Crawford.

It is not crazy to imagine he could average 22 points, six assists, 1.5 steals and three 3-pointers per game this season. He will be running wild as the Knicks primary offensive weapon.

There is uncertainty, however. If Stephon Marbury is the team’s starting point guard, it will hurt the number of opportunities Crawford has to handle the ball. And the lumbering presences of Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph could prevent the team from playing at the speed D’Antoni would prefer.

All things considering, it is a lock the Crawford will be a strong source of 3-pointers, FT% and assists but the upside is enormous.

When to take him:In the sixth round, but if Marbury and/or Randolph get traded, he could go in  fifth.

Zach Randolph (PF)

Helps: Points, Rebounds

Hurts: FG%

Although he has been rumoured to be on the trading block throughout the offseason, Randolph is still the starting power forward for the Knicks. He is a consistent double-double threat but it is hard to predict how one of the notoriously lazy players in the NBA will respond playing for an uptempo team.

Randolph is no expert at running the floor and the increased possessions generated by D’Antoni’s style is unlikely to provide a jump in numbers. In fact, it could lead to a decrease in minutes while more athletic big men like David Lee and Wilson Chandler get increased burn.

Still, it seems likely that if Randolph stays on the Knicks he will provide near as much as he did last season, when he averaged 17.6 points and 10.3 rebounds. But his defensive stats are minimal and his percentages are uninspiring.

If he gets traded to a crappy team like Memphis, his value will increase (not that the Knicks aren’t crappy, mind you). But his bloated salary and poor reputation make it tough for New York to find takers.

When to take him: He’ll probably be the last double-double player off the board, in the seventh round.

David Lee (C/PF)

Helps: Rebounds, FG%, FT%

It would appear that big man in the Knicks’ arsenal is more suited to an uptempo style than Lee. He runs well, has boundless energy, good hands, is a decent passer and can finish around the rim. 

After playing less than 30 minutes per game under Isaiah Thomas, Lee could finally play in the mid-30s per game this season, which would lead to somewhere around 13 points and 11 rebounds per game. He will also post excellent percentages.

But that’s about where it ends with Lee. He will provide few defensive stats, with an outside chance to notch about one steal and one-half block per game. 

It wouldn’t even be surprising if Lee winds up with more value than Randolph if D’Antoni falls in love with Lee’s work ethic on hustle as opposed to Randolph’s lethargy.

When to take him: In the eighth round.

THE REST:

If Stephon Marbury stays with the Knicks AND is the team’s starting point guard, he’ll be running the point for a team likely to score 110 points per game. His 3-pointers and assists alone would make him worth a pick as high as the ninth round.

Conversely, if Marbury is traded or buried on the bench, Chris Duhon will be a late-round pick. Duhon will give assists, steals and 3-pointers but does not have the kind of scoring potential Marbury does.

(My take on the Marbury situation: The Knicks are going to stink regardless. So I would play Marbury as the starter, hope he gets off to a good start and then trade him to a team that needs a boost for the playoffs in exchange for young players/draft picks. At this point, they would hardly get anything for him.

On an uptemo team, Quentin Richardson and Nate Robinson each could be worth a late round pick due to their athleticism and 3-point ability.

Don’t touch Danilo Gallinari until he proves he can actually be healthy long-term. Wilson Chandlerseems like a good fir for D’Antoni’s style but his role is too undefined for him to be drafted in standard leagues. Eddy Curry wasn’t even a recommended pick when the franchise actually liked him.

Be sure to check your league rules for specific position eligibility rules.

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Filed under Draft Strategy, Season Preview, Team Preview

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