Heading into the 2017-18 NBA season, many basketball experts were very optimistic about the New York Knicks and their ability to compete for a playoff spot. The team had gone through a major restructure in the prior year when they traded Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose to other teams, which would allow for younger players to take a bigger role.
While the Knicks were considered to be on the rise heading into this season, it appears that the team will have to take a big step backwards. After watching forward Kristaps Porzingis blossom into a star player this year, the team was devastated to learn that an injury he suffered is now considered to be season ending. While Porzingis should be able to play again at the start of next year, it is disappointing considering how well he was playing (http://www.espn.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/66989/knicks-forced-to-take-long-view-after-kristaps-porzingis-injury-66989)
Through the first half of the season, Porzingis was averaging over 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Despite being only 22 years old, he already looked like he could be one of the marquee stars in the NBA. While Porzingis will suffer this setback, he should still be able to recover and be a great player. However, in the meantime the Knicks will have to use this opportunity to assess other players around him.
Outside of Porzingis, one of the top players on the team was Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway Jr. has shown that he has the ability to score at will and can be a good defensive player as well. Enes Kanter and Courtney Lee also nicely round out the team. However, there is clearly still a lot of pieces that the team needs to be able to compete.
Even with Porzingis playing the majority of the season so far, the Knicks are once again looking like they will miss the playoffs. However, as Porzingis, Hardaway, and some other role players continue to develop, there is room for a lot of optimism. The Knicks will once again be getting a high draft pick and will likely take the most athletic player available. Furthermore, New York City continues to be alluring for free agents and the team has the payroll capacity to sign some big names and talented players over the next few years.