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Inside the Knicks heading into 2015-16 NBA season

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is seen on the

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is seen on the court with less than 15 seconds left against the Phoenix Suns during a game at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Story lines surrounding the Knicks as they open the 2015-16 NBA season on Wednesday night:

Will Carmelo Anthony be of sound mind and body?

He's gotten banged up a lot in recent years and is returning from left knee surgery. If Anthony has to carry too much weight again, it could take a physical and mental toll. Anthony said he won't ask out if things go south, but it's worth watching.

Can Kristaps Porzingis stay healthy and contribute regularly?

Durability is a concern after the 7-3 rookie suffered two injuries this month on non-contact plays. He needs time, but he's skilled. Developing Porzingis is a major objective this season. He's expected to start.

Will the experiment fail again?

Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher hand-picked most of the players on this team. With the Knicks coming off the worst year in franchise history, Jackson's moves and personnel decisions and Fisher's coaching will be scrutinized more closely this season.

Reasons to like the Knicks

They addressed some major weaknesses by acquiring defensive-minded players (Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Kyle O'Quinn), athletes (Derrick Williams and Jerian Grant) and many team-first guys. The Knicks have a lot of length and versatility. They could cause mismatch problems by playing a number of different lineups, and their second unit could push the pace.

Reason to be concerned

They have no star-caliber players other than Anthony, and scoring could be an issue. They'll be relying on players to do more than they have in their careers. Fisher hasn't proved himself as a coach and the triangle offense -- without Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant -- hasn't been successful. Health is always a concern for the Knicks.

A surprise?

A change of scenery and being able to play through mistakes could be what former No. 2 pick Derrick Williams needs to change his career trajectory. Williams' four NBA seasons have been very disappointing, but in the preseason, and despite knowing only half the offense, he showed explosiveness and the ability to score in bunches and in a variety of ways.


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