The New York Knicks debuted their new team and new uniforms Thursday night as they opened up preseason play on the road against the Washington Wizards.
While the jerseys, in my opinion, are undoubtedly better looking as they present a more old school look, it will remain to be seen if the team will produce better results this season. With Amare Stoudemire out with a bruised left knee, the Knicks were able to beat the Wizards who were missing their three best players in John Wall, Nene and Emeka Okafor.
With that being said, here’s what I gathered from the game.
Steve Novak may not be worth the contract that he was given in the offseason but he is definitely proving himself as a solid NBA player. He shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the 3-point line on Thursday night and lead all scorers with 21 points. While many of his looks were open and in games during the season against good defensive teams the looks may not be there, Novak will be a big part of the Knicks success as he provides them with consistent shooting off the bench.
Now for the guy who might be the X factor for the Knicks this season; J.R. Smith.
Smith had 20 points in only 27 minutes and played an all around great game. I consider Smith the X factor because he is the only player aside from Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire that can consistently create his own shot. With Amare’s injury problems, Smith may need to come up big and be a Jason Terry type instant offense Sixth Man for the Knicks to reach their full potential.
Pablo Prigioni also had a great first outing as a Knick scoring 14 points and dishing out four assists in 21 minutes of action. I really like Prigioni a lot and feel that if given the opportunity he can be a great contributor for the Knicks. He, as nicknamed, is truly a “Maestro” and can run an offense while bringing toughness and intensity to the team. Prigioni will most likely have his opportunity to prove himself as he will play backup point guard as Jason Kidd will be moved to backup shooting guard early in the season, as the Knicks deal with the injuries to Iman Shumpert and Ronnie Brewer.
I feel that Prigioni will become a fan favorite and has a really good chance to stay in the rotation if he can play like he is capable of playing.