NEW YORK, N.Y. — It’s the middle of October, and the New York Knicks have three more preseason games before their Oct. 25 season-opener at Cleveland.
This time last season, the Knicks’ roster looked unrecognizable compared to today’s. Kyle O’Quinn said though he couldn’t compare the 2015-16 and 2016-17 rosters, last year’s team came into the season with a completely different mindset.
“This year, we’re more or less — on paper, it looks like we should be doing some things,” O’Quinn told Elite Sports NY. “Last year, we had to shock some people and I think that we did a good job at that. But this year we’ve got to bring it, there are really no excuses this year.”
The Knicks have yet to play a preseason game at full strength.
New York’s chief off-season acquisition, Derrick Rose has been sidetracked by a civil sexual assault case that has limited him to only one preseason game. And knick-knack injuries have postponed Joakim Noah’s Knicks debut.
O’Quinn says the team has “a good feeling” with just a few preseason games remaining before the opener
“Guys are getting better every day, every practice time, every film session, every preseason game,” he said. “So I think that we’re going in the right direction with guys coming back. We’re jelling.
“We kinda took a step back with Joakim and his injury and Derrick Rose’s absence. But for the most part, I think guys are stepping up and handling that well. We’re really waiting on having our team at full strength.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said he wants the team to be “ready to go” by game one, but that it’s tough to get a full gauge without Rose in uniform.
“I think we’re all trying to feel out way through it, in terms of understanding what the coaches want, what the players are good at, what fits them,” Hornacek said. “We still have to put in little end of game plays, that kind of stuff. We were trying to stall out a little until Derrick [Rose] got back here, so we don’t have to go over it again, but at some point we’re gonna have to do it anyway. And we’re just gonna continue to work on some of those little things.”
Kristian Winfield covers the New York Knicks for Elite Sports NY. You can start the conversation on Twitter @Krisplashed.