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Rebuilding begins now for 'Melo, Zen Master and Knicks

POSTED: Oct 18, 2015 7:41 PM ET

By Lang Whitaker

BY Lang Whitaker

NBA.com

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Knicks Season Preview: New Additions

Who came? Who left? The Knicks roster for 2015-16 has a dramatically new look.

When Phil Jackson took over the Knicks as president of basketball operations at the end of the 2013-14 season, it was obvious that changes were on the way. The Knicks managed to re-sign Carmelo Anthony, one of the few genuine franchise players in the NBA today, but traded away most of the other parts of their roster, leaving them, for the first time in a while, with an open outlook on the future, if also a roster mostly empty of immediate impact. While Anthony missed the second half of the season after a knee injury, the Knicks finished a franchise-worst 17-65. And now the rebuilding begins.

ICYMI

Center Robin Lopez joins twin brother Brook in NYC, divided by the East River. As Robin jokes, "The only downside of coming here is that I'm gonna have to see my brother more." ... Also, it's probably a good thing the Knicks don't have a mascot, considering Robin Lopez's history of anti-mascot behavior. ... Anthony appears to be fully recovered from his knee surgery and spent the summer playing pickup ball with his teammates. ... Anthony is the only Knicks player who was on the roster a year ago. ... First-round pick Jerian Grant played well in Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 11.8 ppg and 4.8 apg. ... Sasha Vujacic won two NBA titles with Phil Jackson and the Lakers, and after a few years overseas, they are reuniting in NYC.

THREE POINTS

1. If there was any question that Jackson wasn't planning to accelerate his timetable, look no further than his selection of 19-year-old Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth pick in the 2014 Draft. Porzingis clearly needs time to develop, but may have the highest eventual upside of the players available.

2. According to Jackson, Fisher asked him to be more involved this year in terms of helping the coaching staff. As Robin Lopez said, "Phil Jackson is a good thing."

3. As the Knicks look ahead, Anthony said they have put last season behind them. "Last year was a blur to me and the team. It's hard to think about last year."

MAN ON THE SPOT

Derek Fisher's first season as a head coach wasn't ideal. Obviously, it's hard to blame him, as Phil Jackson turned the roster into a dynamic swap shop as the season went along. Still, a career 17-65 record doesn't look great on anyone's resume. Fisher certainly will get plenty of leeway from Jackson, who hand-picked him for the job, but still, as the Knicks start accumulating players they think actually fit their system, people will pay increasingly more attention to the W/L ledger. As well as the job being done by Derek Fisher.

STARTING FIVE

Jose Calderon | 9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.7 apg
Provides the size Jackson prefers in guards in the Triangle Offense.

Arron Afflalo | 13.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 apg
Hopes to return to form he showed in '13-14, when he averaged 18.2 ppg.

Robin Lopez | 9.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.9 apg
The Knicks picked up a rim protector and rebounder. Should help Anthony/Porzingis defensively.

Carmelo Anthony | 24.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.1 apg
Says he feels great, and that "his window is open." The Knicks better hope it stays open for a while.

Kristaps Porzingis | Rookie
This is Porzingis' job to lose. He may play some 5, but probably needs to get stronger.

KEY RESERVES

Langston Galloway | 11.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.3 apg
Began last season unsigned before making All-Rookie second team.

Derrick Williams | 8.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.7 apg
Another fresh start for the former No. 2 overall pick.

Kyle O'Quinn | 5.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apg
A New York native comes home. Should provide depth along the front line.

THE BOTTOM LINE

New York fans are used to immediate satisfaction. Phil Jackson has warned them not to expect a quick fix. This season the Knicks should be better than they were in 2014-15. Just make sure you keep that title talk on the shelf for a while.

Lang Whitaker has covered the NBA since 1998. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

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