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2015-16 NBA Preview: The Knicks Are Going To Be Bad, Again

We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here.


Year One of Phil Jackson’s New York Knicks presidency was, as the man himself said, a “project gone awry.” If Year Two doesn’t bring significant progress, the locals may become restless.

Jackson didn’t add any stars to the roster in free agency, just players he hopes can coalesce well around a healthy Carmelo Anthony, namesake of FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO player projection system. Will that be enough for the Knicks to sneak into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference?

Recent history indicates that the odds are against it.

The Knicks won a franchise-low 17 games in 2014-15. Since 1983-84, 31 teams have won 17 or fewer games.1 Seventeen of those teams won 25 or fewer games the next season.2

Will the Knicks be the 18th in that group? CARMELO thinks it’ll be close, projecting the Knicks to go 27-55:

carmelo_depth_chart_KNICKS

And here’s a look at what’s in store for the key Knicks in 2015-16:

carmelo-anthony

The only player in the 2003 draft class with more regular-season minutes played than the 31-year-old Carmelo Anthony (30,266) is LeBron James. So the minutes projected for Anthony by FiveThirtyEight’s eponymous model is a good sign for the Knicks. Anthony’s defensive production, projected at -1.7 per 100 possessions, is not. New York hopes that Robin Lopez and the defensive-minded forwards the club signed can help Anthony on that end of the floor.


jose-calderon

If Jose Calderon’s defense hurts the club, as is projected here, the Knicks could hand Jerian Grant the starting job.


arron-afflalo

The Knicks have touted Arron Afflalo as a strong defender during training camp. The numbers here say otherwise.


kyle-oquinn

A Kyle O’Quinn/Lopez tandem could help offset some of Anthony’s defensive shortcomings.


robin-lopez

New York paid Robin Lopez $54 million over four years to defend the rim/paint and rebound the ball on both ends of the floor. Metrics suggest it could be money well spent in Year One.


jerian-grant

Jerian Grant projects below average on both ends of the floor, which is expected for a rookie. But New York would like to give Grant a rotation spot.

Read more:

NBA player projections

2015-16 NBA Previews

Footnotes

  1. Or the equivalent, based on winning percentages, for lockout seasons.

  2. Again, or the equivalent, based on winning percentages, for lockout seasons.

Ian Begley covers the New York Knicks for ESPN.

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