- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Half the roster is new. The uniforms are (slightly) new. Same goes for the arena. And, of course, there's a new intra-city rival, the Brooklyn Nets.
But one thing remains the same for the New York Knicks: the expectations.
They're high, just as they've always been around here.
Can this veteran group rise to the occasion? That depends on several factors.
Here are a few of the key issues surrounding the Knicks as they head into training camp, which begins with media day on Monday:
Can Mike Woodson make the Amare-Melo pairing work? Woodson insists that it's all on him. He's taking full responsibility for making things work between Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
Through a season-and-a-half of Anthony and Stoudemire in New York, the results have been mixed. Anthony and Stoudemire have a sub-.500 regular-season record when both are in the starting lineup.
According to scouts, one issue that seems to get in the way is that both players thrive in the same space on the floor: from the mid-post to the elbow.
Another issue is this: Stoudemire is at his best in an up-tempo, pick-and-rolll attack. Anthony likes to operate in isolation.
Last season, when Stoudemire was injured, Anthony was effective at power forward. Will Woodson try to get Anthony more minutes at the four this season? To do so means Stoudemire would have to be off the floor and possibly out of the starting lineup. Stay tuned.
What kind of shape is Raymond Felton in? New York, as you know, decided to not to match Houston's three-year, $25.1 million offer to Jeremy Lin. Instead, GM Glen Grunwald swung a trade to bring in Felton, who had success with the team during a 54-game stint in 2010-11.
But everyone seems to be holding their collective breath over Felton's physical condition coming into camp.
The 28-year-old reportedly struggled with his weight throughout an underwhelming 2011-12 campaign in Portland. He averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 assists, and shot 41 percent from the field for the Trail Blazers.
The Knicks hope that Felton, a seven-year veteran, can regain the form he showed in his first stint in New York, when he averaged 17 points per game and nine assists per game.
Can Stoudemire bounce back? All signs point to Stoudemire being in peak conditioning heading into training camp. He worked out intensively all summer and spent two weeks in Houston learning post moves from Hakeem Olajuwon.
Stoudemire was rehabbing a back injury in the summer of 2011 and was limited to just one 5-on-5 game during the entire five-month lockout. As a result, he came into the season with 15 pounds of muscle, which appeared to affect his explosiveness. He also lost his brother midway through the season. He ended the year with near career-lows of 17.5 points per game on 48 percent shooting.
Stoudemire, though, seems primed for a bounce-back season. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
Who's the starting shooting guard? It seems logical that Woodson will go with Ronnie Brewer over J.R. Smith in the starting five. Brewer brings an intense brand of perimeter defense to the floor, something the team is missing with Iman Shumpert sidelined with a knee injury.
Brewer himself is coming off of knee surgery, but he expects to be healthy for the Knicks' season opener on Nov. 1.
Smith's hot-and-cold shooting and comfort in an up-tempo attack seems more suited for the bench. But if Brewer suffers any kind of setback during training camp, Woodson may turn to Smith at shooting guard.
Kidd and Kurt Thomas are 39. Camby is 38. They have a combined 51 years of experience among them. Suffice to say, New York won't lack in the veteran leadership department. But what can these guys bring to the floor?
In the best-case scenario, Kidd can give the Knicks 15-20 minutes a night backing up Felton. Many view Kidd as a solid wing defender, so he can help the Knicks there as well.
Camby, in a perfect world, would combine with Chandler to form one of the top defensive center combinations in basketball.
But you have to wonder if both veterans can make it through an 82-game campaign.
7dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann