The New York Knicks‘ first bit of preseason action served as a nice preview of their new acquisitions’ potential. While there was little at stake in the preseason opener and it was against the lowly Boston Celtics, Knicks fans have to be pleased with the way some of the newcomers looked in orange and blue.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had plenty to prove and he handled himself quite nicely. He showed a willingness to work on the defensive end, but, most importantly, his jump shot looked smooth and he took the bulk of his shots within the rhythm of the offense en route to 16 points. He went 6-for-10 from the field (including the game-winner) while knocking down 3-of-5 three-point attempts. He’s also been reportedly shooting very well in practice. Hardaway Jr. is already looking like a nice option to provide spacing with his outside shooting.
Andrea Bargnani had a rough first half, relying too much on unreliable long two-point jumpers, but his play was noticeably better in the second half. He showed a willingness to pass the ball and he was able to earn six free throw attempts by attacking off the dribble. His ability to earn foul shots could end up being very important for a Knicks team that was just 20th in free throws attempted last season.
Metta World Peace played aggressively and chipped in with 13 points and three assists. His jumper looked pretty good, both off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations. If MWP can be a consistent shooter this year, he’ll find plenty of playing time in the Knicks’ rotation.
Beno Udrih had a slightly rougher outing. He looked more comfortable as the game went on, but he displayed poor shot selection, often settling for mid-range pull-ups off the dribble. He was, however, able to pick up four assists.
We also got a quick look at some of the players fighting for roster spots. Cole Aldrich made a few useful plays defensively but couldn’t find his touch on the offensive end. Chris Smith, CJ Leslie and Ike Diogu didn’t have much time to prove themselves, but none of them were especially effective (Smith’s performance at point guard was a mess).
As the preseason wears on, we should be seeing more and more of the new guys as Mike Woodson gets closer and closer to making the final roster cuts.