Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony during...

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony during the first half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal. (May 18, 2013) Credit: AP

1. Will Carmelo Anthony have to shoulder too much of the load again?

He opted to forego offseason surgery on a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, which could be aggravated at any time. Anthony will need more help for the Knicks to get out of the second round this season, and perhaps for him to re-sign with them.

2. How will J.R. Smith come back after a rough postseason and offseason?

The Sixth Man of the Year has to prove he deserved the $18 million-plus the Knicks gave him after he disappeared in the playoffs amid rumors he was hitting the clubs, major offseason knee surgery and a five-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy.

3. Who will lead this team?

The Knicks will miss Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace in the locker room. Someone has to keep this hot-headed team featuring Smith and Metta World Peace focused. Anthony must lead more than he ever has, with help from Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni.

4. Can the Knicks count on Amar'e Stoudemire all season?

It sounds bleak, with the Knicks limiting his minutes to 20 a game and maybe not using him both nights of back-to-backs to preserve his surgically repaired knees. But if he can stay healthy and produce, he'll help the Knicks and his trade value going into the final year of his contract.

5. Will Mike Woodson get more players involved offensively?

Players, including Tyson Chandler, clamored for it last season, especially when the ball stuck and Anthony and Smith dominated the offense. Woodson, who has a team option for 2014-15, will want to keep Anthony happy, but other players might not be thrilled if things don't change.


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