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W2W4: New York Knicks Training Camp

What strides will Derek Fisher and Carmelo Anthony make in Year 2? (NBAE/Getty Images)

What strides will Derek Fisher and Carmelo Anthony make in Year 2? (NBAE/Getty Images)

It’s almost that time, Knicks fans … training camp is right around the corner!

For the second straight year, Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher will kick off the 2015-16 season by taking the new-look Knicks to West Point for a five-day stint starting September 29th. There will be a lot of intrigue surrounding the team as Fisher will have a plethora of new faces to incorporate into the Triangle Offense, among other things. What other stories should we be paying attention to in the coming weeks?

Melo’s Health

Ever since Carmelo Anthony arrived in the 2010-11 season, the organization’s hopes for success have rested on his shoulders. This concept was most evident last season, as the team struggled through its worst season ever after he underwent surgery for a damaged left patella tendon. All indications are that he’s healthy and ready for the 82-game grind, as’s Ian Begley points out in his latest blog:

Carmelo Anthony is back on the court following surgery in late February to repair a damaged left patella tendon. He’s been participating in five-on-five scrimmages at the Knicks’ training facility for the past few weeks, and players involved in the scrimmages say he’s looked strong.

If Anthony misses any extended period of time this season, the Knicks may be in trouble offensively as there is no bona fide second scoring option on the roster. This means that guys like Aaron Afflalo, Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway and even Robin Lopez will need to be able to score in bunches to compensate when he’s not in the game.

Rookie Development

Phil Jackson used his first 1st-round pick as Knicks president on Kristaps Porzingis, a high-risk high-reward talent. Although the 20-year-old Latvian played well in the Summer League, questions arise about how successful he will be in the NBA. The Zen Master made waves when he compared his prized rookie to Shawn Bradley, of all people; in true Porzingis form, he has used that as motivation by bulking up his 7′-1″, 220 lb. frame and seems ready to make an immediate impact on the Knicks. We can’t forget about Jerian Grant, the 6′-5″ guard out of Notre Dame. Acquired in a draft-day deal he too will have plenty of opportunities to impress the coaching staff. His size will certainly help him as he can fill in at either guard position, giving Fisher some interesting options for the lineup and causing mismatches on the court.

Figuring Out the Rotation

Calderon, Afflalo, Anthony and Lopez are locks to be in the starting lineup when the season starts on October 28th, with Galloway and Grant sure to be the guards off the bench. But who will fill out the starting five and, subsequently, the regular rotation? The answer hinges on which forward shines the brightest in training camp and preseason. Porzingis brings the ability to stretch the defense with his long-range shooting and would leave Melo the space to operate in the high post. Derrick Williams adds athleticism to a team desperate for length. Kyle O’Quinn is known as a great passer in the post and can also knock down the midrange jumper. Sasha Vujacic is a veteran of the Triangle and would be key in teaching the new guys the right spot to be on the floor, while also stretching the defense with his ability to knock down shots. Cleanthony Early has a year of experience under his belt and will look to play a bigger role in the offense. Kevin Seraphin was impressive last season as a rebounder/shot-blocker and can spell Lopez in spurts. It’s all about Fisher and his staff figuring out who fits where best for this season and beyond as the Knicks continue pushing towards the playoffs and back to relevancy.

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