Editor's Note: To preview training camp and the 2005-06 season, John Hollinger addresses three key questions concerning the Knicks.
1. What can Brown do?
If this is Larry Brown's dream job, I'd hate to see what his nightmare job is like.
Thanks to years of mismanagement by Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas, New York has become a dumping ground for the overpaid and overrated. Moreover, the Knicks' one truly talented player, Stephon Marbury, clashed with Brown while the two were leading the U.S. to bronze medal glory at the 2004 Olympics. Beyond "Starbury" lie players with $100 million worth of bad contracts, seemingly all of whom play power forward.
Nonetheless, there is some latitude for Brown to work his magic. Historically, Brown's teams have improved at the defensive end much more than at the offensive end during his tenure. That would be a welcome development at the Garden, since the Knicks' defenders barely seemed to care on many nights. Players like Jamal Crawford and Tim Thomas may provide more resistance now that they know their previously lackluster efforts won't be tolerated.
The question is, how much can the Knicks really improve even with such a renowned coach on the sideline? Even Brown's Clippers teams had more talent than this one, and that's assuming that first-round draft picks Nate Robinson and Channing Frye can make an immediate contribution. It will take a heroic effort just to keep this team out of the lottery.