The NBA season officially kicks off this week. The Knicks and the Nets will both have their first game on Wednesday night. Each team had its own improvements to make in the off-season. Here’s what you can watch for from each team going into the 2014-2015 season.
Although the Knicks had a very disappointing 2013-2014 season, they did show some promise toward the end, winning 16 of their last 23 games.
J.R. Smith had a particularly bad season, however he was working his way back from knee surgery and should be at 100% going into the season.
The biggest concern will be watching Derek Fisher take over as head coach for the first time. Fisher had a big part in convincing Carmelo Anthony stay on the team. Fisher will be instituting a triangle offense this season, and he believes Anthony will adapt well to the strategy.
Cleanthony Early was the Knicks’ big draft pick this year. The forward from Wichita State was a second-round pick, although many believe he is a first-round talent. Early shows promise as a three-point shooter and also has some solid defensive skills.
President Phil Jackson made some interesting moves in the off-season. In addition to signing Fisher, Jackson traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks. Chandler and Felton had both been struggling with the Knicks, and the move opens up a lot of opportunity for a team that is in a clear rebuild mode.
Brooklyn was able to make the playoffs last season, getting knocked out in the second round by Miami. Although they lost in five games, Brooklyn held their own against the Eastern Conference champs. Two of those losses were very close and could have easily been won by the Nets.
With their salary cap situation, the Nets had a relatively quiet off-season. Due to a promising 2013-2014 season, it seems the Nets are fairly content with sticking with what worked for them.
The Nets did not have a first-round draft pick this year, and they were able to acquire Markel Brown as the number 44 pick. Brown, from Oklahoma State, was considered one of the most athletic players in the draft.
After only one season as head coach, Jason Kidd reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with General Manager Billy King and attempted to take control of the front office in addition to his coaching duties. After the move didn’t work, Kidd quickly left the team and will now be coaching the Milwaukee Bucks.
Lionel Hollins will take over this season as head coach for the Nets. Holins signed a four-year contract with the team, and it will be interesting to see how the previously successful team will come together under a new coach.