The New look Knicks, as they have been called this offseason, have added an array of new players: Amar'e, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov. "The Knicks are back" has been declared by Amar'e himself. New York has added depth, youth and offensive potency into a franchise that has not been a serious competitor for a decade. Because of this newly added talent the Knicks will most likely compete for a playoff spot this year. But what nobody has been talking about are the "old" Knicks. Specifically Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.
Chandler and Gallinari represent two of the five returning players from last year's team, are coming back from a year that was overshadowed by David Lee's emergent All-Star season. They are the most important players next to Amar'e Stoudemire and are the biggest factors that will lead to the Knicks' success in 2010-11. If the Knicks are going to be a successful team this year, it will be largely dependent on the play and improvement of Chandler and Gallo.
Both Gallo and Chandler put up similar numbers in 2009-10. Chandler averaged 15.3 points a game along with 5.4 rebounds while Gallinari averaged 15.1 points with 4.9 rebounds. SImilar numbers - yes. Similar scorers - no.
Chandler is a mid-range guy. He likes to catch the ball on the wing from about 12-15 feet up and face up. Being 6'8", Chandler has the ability to shoot over most defenders, and with his underrated athleticism and strength, can get to the basket well. His spot up shooting has improved greatly from last year.
Chandler's biggest asset will be his ability to create mismatches by forcing defenders to swarm him. By catching from 10 feet out and driving, opposing defenses will be forced to rotate and swarm thus creating catch and shoot opportunities for perimeter shooters. His abilities on offense is reminiscent of Latrell Sprewell or a young Richard Hamilton.
Chandler's continued improvement from mid-range is a must need to for the Knicks offense this season.
Gallo has all the makings of an all-star forward, it is just a matter of him hitting his potential. At 6'10", Gallo can also creates mismatches for defenses. His favorite place on the court is behind the perimeter. Gallinari took an astounding 488 three-point attempts last season and hit 186 of them.
Gallo loves to create his own three point opportunities which usually come by the way of a one dribble hard step at a defender from the triple threat position. With his height, Gallo can shoot over mostly any perimeter defender.
Gallinari has the ability to become a Dirk Nowitzki type of player. He has all the tools to do it. He is 6'10", athletic, can shoot, and can handle the ball well for a guy his size.
In order for Gallo to get to the next level year, he must improve his mid-range face-up game, and post game. Gallo must improve on catching the ball from 12-15 feet out, facing up on a defender and shooting over them. He should limit his shot attempts from beyond the arc and focus his offense on positioning like Dirk does.
Dirk gives coaches nightmares with his ability to two things really well. One, he shoots over small defenders from the mid-range, and two, drives past bigger defenders with his speed. Gallo can be this same type of player but he must be committed to staying inside more than floating beyond the perimeter.
If the Knicks want to make a run this season, the time is now for Chandler and Gallinari. They will have to be the best scoring options behind Amar'e. Both Chandler and Gallinari are "veteran" Knick players but their age, 23 and 21 gives them tremendous upside. Look for them to improve like they have in years prior and be the X-factors in the Knicks offense this season.