The Knicks will have to come together as a team within the triangle offense. Anthony may well get his chance to prove his detractors wrong, although that’s unlikely to happen this year. Importing Jose Calderon from Dallas to play the point should provide some stability and plenty of outside shooting. He made 44.9 percent of his three-pointers last year, and his presence should provide some room on the inside for Anthony and Smith. Calderon has been a solid distributor before, and he could well pile up the assists this year. As for Smith, his style of play is among the least-suited for the selfless triangle in all of the NBA. He wants to shoot, isn’t a team player and will likely clash with Fisher and Jackson until they are able to move him. Until then, Smith will certainly provide points off the bench. It would be nice if Andrea Bargnani could hit the trey again. His three-point success rate has been dropping for five years now and hit an all-time low (27.8 percent) last year. If he can rebound, the Knicks would benefit greatly. New York picked up the option on Tim Hardaway for next season, demonstrating their belief that he can be a solid two man. He has to improve his defense, but he has a definite ability to score. Outlook The Knicks are in full transition mode. Jackson has had several months to affect the team’s culture, but he must now work on the roster, which has several dead spots and plenty of needs. Fisher is just six months removed from the end of his playing career and has no coaching experience a t al l , a lthough h i s long playing s t i n t did include plenty of leadership. T h e k e y i s whether Anthony can fit himself into the triangle and by behaving and thriving Jim McIsaac/Getty Images convince other top players to join him in New York. Jackson’s pedigree helps in the recruitment process, but nobody is going to want to come to the Knicks unless he believes Anthony is committed to winning, rather than himself. As for the rest of the roster, it’s possible to envision a New York team in a year or so that is almost completely different – save Anthony. That makes this year interesting but not one for serious contention. SPOTLIGHT: Carmelo Anthony Even though Anthony was hardly the prime story during the offseason, he certainly attracted attention, as people wondered whether he would bolt New York for Houston, L.A. or even Dallas. In the end, he chose the Knicks, as much for the amount of money available as for the bright future ahead. There can be no denying that Anthony has talent. One of the most graceful and versatile scorers to ever play, has amassed just under 20,000 points during his 11-year career and has an Olympic gold medal to his credit. He is a seven-time All-Star, a former scoring champion and is considered one of the League’s biggest stars. For all of that, he has been past the first round of the playoffs just twice during his career, and his postseason shooting percentage of 41.7 is well below his career average. While Jackson is expected to put a strong imprint of his personality on the franchise, Anthony must prove that he can lead the team to big things. To do that, he must use the next several seasons to show that he can play winning basketball. If he makes it exclusively about the numbers, and by extension, his next—and probably final contract—he will continue to bask in the promotional excess of the lLague but won’t help the Knicks get closer to the championship. It will be fascinating to see what Jackson’s influence is on Anthony. The forward has said that he wants to win and has promised to work hard to find his way in the triangle. But if he doesn’t complete the job, New York will be destined for mediocrity for many years to come.
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