Updated: Oct. 28, 2005, 4:01 PM ET

Can LB put brand on Knicks?


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Where will the New York Knicks finish in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference? Get 12 different takes from ESPN's NBA experts.

Marc Stein ESPN.com
If you believe Larry Brown is worth 10 extra wins, New York should be back in playoff contention. At the very least, you can believe that the Knicks will be interesting again. Finally.
Chris Sheridan ESPN Insider
Larry Brown will probably give more minutes than many might have expected to rookies David Lee and Nate Robinson. There's a better-than-decent mix of veterans and youngsters here. The test will be whether they commit to playing defense the way Brown's teams typically do.
Will Perdue ESPN Insider
Larry, Larry, Larry. With all your health problems, why would you take on this enormous task? I just hope his head does not explode while trying to get this team to play the right way. Clean up on aisle nine.
Jim O'Brien ESPN Insider
Getting Larry Brown was a coup for Isiah Thomas. Eddy Curry will establish a much-needed inside presence. Brown will not waste any time improving the Knicks' D (29th in field-goal defensive pct. last year).
Eric Neel ESPN
Page 2

It's New York, so people will pay attention, but Brown and Curry aren't really going to make that much of a difference.
Tim Legler ESPN Insider

See Item 7 for Legler's analysis of the New York Knicks.

Scoop Jackson ESPN
Page 2

LB's going to make Zeke look like Joe Dumars.
John Hollinger ESPN Insider
30-win talent, but could be a 40-win team solely because of Larry Brown. Fly in ointment is that Brown's teams tend to start very slowly in his first year on the job.
Chad Ford ESPN Insider
Either the combo of Larry Brown and Eddy Curry are enough to make the Knicks a contender or someone (read Isiah) is losing his job. On paper, they should be a playoff team, and if they're not, Brown will be the first to push for changes. Pack your bags, Steph.
John Carroll Scouts Inc.
Larry Brown will change the culture of the past few years and help improve New York's defense, shot selection and ability to win close games. Look for the Knicks to slowly improve over the season, be a tough opponent every night, but be back in the lottery at the end of the year.
Ric Bucher ESPN Mag
Larry Brown has taken every team he's coached to the playoffs; it just hasn't always been the first year. He may have Isiah Thomas trading half the team by Christmas, but there's a playoff window in the East with Boston and Chicago faltering, and you know Brown and windows: He can't resist climbing in or out of them.
Chris Broussard ESPN Insider
Larry Brown's biggest challenge since taking over the Clippers in 1992.

New York Skyscraper
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
With Allan Houston done, will Jamal Crawford now soar as the No. 1 two-guard?

Lineup Breakdown
ESPN The Magazine sizes up the Knicks roster:

Starters: Long-range gunners may not like Brown's post priorities.
Splits minutes with Mo Taylor while Isiah keeps shopping.
Won't be tops in treys (made and tried) again.
Wide body guzzles points (16.1), not nearly enough boards (5.4).
Crazy skills, crazier shot selection: 39.8 FG%.
21.7 ppg, 8.1 apg are empty stats without big wins.
Bench: This unit is young and able. Nate Robinson is the most exciting NY rook since Rod Strickland. David Lee, Channing Frye and Trevor Ariza will go all night.



ESPN The Magazine's NBA Preview hits newsstands Oct. 26.

Hollinger's Player Spotlight
Jamal Crawford
Player Efficiency Rating
vs. NBA Avg.: +0.15

Jamal Crawford has shot below 40 percent from the floor for two straight seasons, and it's not hard to see why. He takes at least two horrible shots every game -- I'm talking about awful, off-the-dribble, contested 20-foot heaves with 17 showing on the shot clock. I had always assumed this habit would go away as he got older, but it's proving quite stubborn.

Perhaps that explains why Crawford's game has shown zero development the past two seasons. His PER is stuck around 15, which makes him a questionable value at $8 million a year, and his defense is quite poor. Crawford has good quickness but lacks strength and doesn't show a great interest in staying close to his man, which is the main reason Chicago didn't mind letting him go. Between the shot selection and the defense, it will be very interesting to see how he coexists with Brown. Right now, Crawford could best be described as "playing the wrong way."

Additionally, Crawford appears to be falling in love with his jump shot. He took nearly half his shot attempts beyond the 3-point line, which is far too many for a player with his quickness and finishing skills. But Crawford prefers to cross opponents over on the perimeter and go up for his jumper. It looks awesome when it goes in, but over time it's a lower-percentage play than getting to the basket.

That's not to say he lacks positives. Few guards create shots as easily as he does, and he's among the best ballhandling off guards in the game. He's also capable of playing the point, although his shoot-first mentality can get in the way. If he can just harness those skills and be a little less trigger-happy, the Knicks' investment in Crawford could reap more commensurate rewards.

-- Knicks player profiles from John Hollinger's "Pro Basketball Forecast: 2005-06," available at Amazon.com and Potomac Books.

Little big man
AP/Kathy Willens
Nate Robinson has New Yorkers excited about the Knicks, again.

SportsNation Speaks
Now that the euphoria (and anxiety) surrounding the Knicks' acquisition of Eddy Curry has subsided somewhat, SportsNation is taking a cold, hard look at the deal, with more than 15,000 fans participating in this Q&A:

How will Curry's Knicks career go?
43.2% He'll be solid but overpaid
39.8% He'll be an All-Star
9.5% He'll be a disappointment
7.5% He'll be an all-time great Knicks center

Vote: Knicks in 2005-06 | Results

Tim's Time
Stephon Marbury

Legs on Knicks: Larry Brown will provide the Knicks with something they have lacked since Pat Riley left town, and that's a defensive mind-set. His ability to maximize a team's defensive capabilities will keep them in every game.

Offensively, the additions of Eddy Curry, Jerome James and Quentin Richardson will provide a low-post and 3-point presence, which are two things Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford sorely need to be effective scorers, thus leading the Knicks to the playoffs.

Tim Legler, ESPN Insider

Coach's Corner
Larry Brown
Experience: 22 years
Reg. season record: 987-741
Playoff record: 100-89
NBA titles: 1
Coach's profile

Larry Brown's record in taking franchises to another level speaks for itself. He simply gets the job done by "playing the right way."

Eddy Curry and Quentin Richardson are nice young upgrades.

Coach Brown will not tolerate the poor defensive effort the Knicks showed a year ago (No. 28 ranked defense).

Jim O'Brien, ESPN.com Insider

Hollinger's Q & A
Where will Marbury play?

The stars do not appear to be aligning for Steph. He and Larry Brown are not on the same page regarding a point-guard's responsibilities, because Brown has always preferred his point guards to be passers rather than scorers. Rumors of Brown being interested in pursuing Eric Snow (apparently Mark Jackson and Haywoode Workman were unavailable) can't be music to Marbury's ears either.

The most-discussed solution for Brown is to move Marbury to the off-guard spot, much as Brown did with Allen Iverson in Philadelphia. The benefits are clear enough: Marbury wouldn't drive Brown crazy by dominating the ball, and Marbury is so strong that he could probably handle the position defensively.

But there are clear drawbacks, as well. For starters, Marbury isn't accustomed to playing off the ball and isn't a great catch-and-shoot guy. But the biggest problem is finding somebody else to play the point. Nate Robinson is a shoot-first type, and becoming a full-time starter as a rookie may be biting off more than he can chew. A trade is a more likely possibility, but New York's ownership seems to be growing weary of all the bad contracts they've taken on. Thus, Steph and Larry may have to learn to live with each other.

More Hollinger Knicks analysis Insider

Fantasy Fix

Sleeper: Malik Rose has never really gotten a chance to be a regular starter. Now he will. With 45 starts in nearly 600 career games, he's been a fantasy afterthought. But his points and rebounds should be career bests now, maybe 12 points, 8 boards, and that's solid 10th-round value. Someone's gotta rebound on this squad.

Bust: Eddy Curry has developed into a solid scorer, but it's the drop-off in other areas that makes him overrated in fantasy. Curry doesn't rebound or block shots, and his free throw percentage remains a concern. We hope his health isn't an issue. You need centers who do more than score, and Curry's not that guy.

Eric Karabell | Fantasy Basketball Index


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