Thursday, October 25, 2012
Opening Tip: Confident, Knicks fans?
By Ian Begley
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: How are you feeling about the Knicks after the preseason? Confident? Concerned?
Normally, an NBA coach has a pretty good handle on his personnel and rotations after his team's final preseason game.
Unfortunately for Mike Woodson, that hasn't happened with the Knicks.
The coach has dealt with several injuries to key players in the preseason, which has prevented Woodson from getting a true feel for his team.
Marcus Camby has missed the entire preseason with a calf injury. J.R. Smith has sat out the final four preseason games with an Achillies injury. Amare Stoudemire is expected to miss two more weeks due to a ruptured cyst in his right knee and Rasheed Wallace is unavailable due to conditioning issues. And lastly, Tyson Chandler left Wednesday's game in the first quarter with a sprained left knee.
Woodson hopes to have Smith, Wallace and possibly Camby back for practice on Friday. Chandler's availability is unclear.
So that means Friday's practice -- and the practices thereafter -- are pivotal for the Knicks.
Woodson has organized intrasquad scrimmages for the next several days to give himself a chance to get a feel for the players who missed preseason games.
"We should be pretty loaded in terms of our players being ready to play," Woodson said. "It will give me an opportunity to look at Rasheed and hopefully JR should be back around that time as well. We should pretty much have a full deck and it will give me an opportunity to experiment with some different lineup changes during those scrimmages to see which way we decide to go with it."
Which means that the next few practices are of the utmost importance.