While the Knicks have added a few new pieces (Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih and first-round draft pick Tim Hardaway Jr. among others) to their roster, the Celtics have undergone a drastic transformation.
Gone are veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. Not to mention the Celtics will not be coached by Doc Rivers for the first time in nine years. The only significant holdovers from last year are Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green.
The Celtics are going with a youth movement and they have tapped Brad Stevens, who coached brilliantly in college at Butler, to lead their transition into a new era.
So, suffice to say, these are not your father’s Celtics.
With this game (and all exhibition games for that matter) just a way to work out the kinks prior to the start of the regular season, here are a couple of things to look for on Wednesday night.
What will the starting five look like?
While it doesn’t really mean all that much in the long run, it should still be interesting nonetheless who Mike Woodson trots out there in the first preseason game. Ray Felton, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler should be considered locks. Others vying for a spot include Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani and Iman Shumpert. While it’s only a preseason game, it should be interesting if Woodson tips his hand.
How long will the starters play?
Again, these games are just a way to test things out and see what works and what doesn’t. The regulars should see anywhere between 20-30 minutes and then give way to some roster hopefuls the rest of the game. As long as everyone stays healthy, everything will be a success.
How will newcomers Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih, Cole Aldrich and others fit in?
The Knicks are welcoming in a fresh new batch of newcomers this year and their contributions should be of critical importance this season. It should be exciting to see how they mesh with the holdovers and if they fit into Mike Woodson’s offense. World Peace and Bargnani in particular have to pull their weight, as they are being counted on for major production this season. It would be nice to see Bargnani mix it up down low, but that’s never been his style. And as long as Word Peace stays committed to being a role player, he’ll be fine. Udrih and his versatility in the backcourt could be vital off the bench this season. And as for Aldrich, well, he provides a nice, active body in the middle while spelling Chandler. He should get an extended look in this affair.
Will any of the rookies or camp invitees stand out?
A lot of Knicks’ fans are excited to see what rookies Tim Hardaway Jr. (the club’s first-round draft pick) and free-agent signing C.J. Leslie could do. Hardaway is expected to provide some offensive punch off the bench in lieu of J.R. Smith recovering from his knee injury and subsequent 5-game suspension. While Hardaway is still a bit unrefined, he has a high ceiling and if Woodson can harness his potential, he can add a new dimension to the Knicks’ offense. Leslie, on the other hand, is on thin ice after a so-so performance in the Las Vegas summer camp. He still has limitless potential for an active big man. Leslie needs a good start this preseason to make an indelible mark with the coaching staff. Other invitees like Ike Diogu and Josh Powell are longshots to make the team, but it should be fun to see what they got.
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