The Knicks Wall ‘15-’16 Season Preview: Forwards
Yesterday, we gave you the lowdown on the guards. Now, let’s check out what’s happening with Carmelo Anthony and his supporting cast of forwards.
The forward position for the New York Knicks will be headlined by Carmelo Anthony, once again.
After a roster overhaul after a tumultuous 2014–2015 campaign, what can we expect from the new additions?
Let’s dive in —
Reid Goldsmith, writer:
The question about forwards starts and ends with Carmelo Anthony. ‘Melo started strong in the preseason, shaking off anyone’s doubts about lingering problems with the knee but now must withstand much of the pressure of New York and its second rebuilding year.
He’ll most likely carry the team in scoring and should be the unanimous leader in the locker room.
‘Melo’s veteran leadership will be vital for young guys like Cleanthony Early and Derrick Williams. One, a second round pick, and the other, a second overall pick, have impressed in the preseason, flashing a faster pace in transition for easy buckets and overall athleticism.
They need to have a strong defensive presence on the wings.
Brendan Duball, writer:
The $124 million man Carmelo Anthony hasn’t played meaningful basketball since February. Getting ‘Melo back into a groove and keeping him healthy is without a doubt the most important thing this franchise can do in the 2015–2016 season.
If a healthy, 31-year old Anthony can find a way to replicate what he did in the 2012–2013 season (28.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 44% shooting) the Knicks actually may not look like utter-dog shit and could win more than 17 games.
Cleanthony Early will try to improve on a less-than impressive rookie year, jumping between Westchester and the Knicks. He’s looked much more aggressive in the preseason, finding his way to the bucket and not settling for outside shots.
Cleanthony is best in transition, yet he lacks any sort of skill in the half-court offense. He’ll likely see most of his time running with the second team which so far seems like the more explosive, change of pace threat, so he’ll fit right in.
Derrick Williams my dark horse of the forward position; can he actually live up to the expectations of being the 2nd overall pick? Will he look as good in the regular season as he has in the preseason? Can he be the go-to guy for scoring in the second unit?
All of these questions will be answered come Oct. 28th, but I like what I’ve seen from D-Will so far. He’s seemed to embrace the triangle offense with open arms and has the ability to make the reads that makes the triangle offense so effective. He needs a haircut though. Blonde dreads are so 2000 and hell no.
I’ve never actually seen Lance Thomas do anything that has made me say “Yep, that guy belongs in the NBA,” but he really doesn’t need to, I guess. He’s average at just about everything and provides veteran leadership(?) I respect him for coming in late last season and playing hard and hustling. Every team needs those guys that actually hustle for loose balls and make the extra pass.
Peter Saclarides, writer:
If preseason taught us anything about this group of forwards, it’s that they can be an efficient and exciting squad.
When Carmelo Anthony is healthy, he’s amazing, capable of scoring from almost anywhere, with almost any move. Last season he put up 25 points per game, with an injured knee.
With more help around him this year, Melo won’t have to shoot as much as in previous seasons, and you can expect his scoring numbers to hover around 24–25 per game, and his FG% to improve.
Derrick Williams is in his ultimate make-or-break year. If he plays well enough, he’ll be able to opt out and get more money, either in New York or elsewhere.
Surprisingly, D-Will impressed in preseason, averaging 17 points, and 0.7 steals a game. He was not only able to take advantage of his athleticism in his six preseason games, but was also able to shoot the three-point ball well, in addition to making some nice passes.
Williams seems like a perfect first or second guy off the bench for the Knicks, able to come in the game and quickly hit a three, or make a hustle play to get the team going.
If Arron Afflalo’s hamstring continues to bother him, D-Will should see extra minutes, and possibly become a second scoring option early in the season.
Cleanthony Early didn’t live up to his “steal of the draft” hype last year, after falling to the second round. He struggled mightily last year, averaging only five point and one assist per game last season.
Cle’ will see more minutes early this year, with Afflalo injured, but he’ll likely be a bench player with limited minutes again, unless he really steps up his shot selection and defense.