Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony waits for a free throw during...

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony waits for a free throw during the second half of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee on Feb. 18, 2014. Credit: EPA / Mike Brown

1. Will Carmelo Anthony buy into the triangle offense, and make his teammates better?

Anthony resisted Mike D'Antoni's system, but Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher believe he's on board with theirs. They expect Anthony to make that change the way Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant did. They remained elite scorers, but moved the ball within the triangle, setting up their teammates. Everyone benefitted, especially their teams. Anthony's supporting cast isn't as good, but he has said he doesn't want to have to do everything. We'll see.

2. Will the Knicks learn the systems?

It's not just the triangle offense that the Knicks have to master, but the defensive principles that Fisher will stress. The first-time coach made a point of saying he wants the Knicks to be an elite defensive team, which is something they haven't been in more than decade. It's going to take commitment, sacrifice and effort, especially from several players who have never been considered strong individual or help defenders.

3. Can Jackson and Fisher get through to J.R. Smith?

The talented and volatile guard could and should flourish in the system that allows wing players to shine. It's up to Smith. He's returning from a mostly forgettable season that included an NBA suspension, multiple fines and being benched by ex-coach Mike Woodson. Jackson and Fisher probably will have less patience than the old regime for Smith's antics and ill-advised/forced shots. They have 18 championship rings between them, so Smith should listen.

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