The Knicks set a record by using 42 different starting lineups last season, one more than the Warriors used in 1994-95. Of the 19 players who suited up in New York, 16 started at least once.
Record: 23-59 (15th in East) Points scored: 95.6 (20th in NBA) Points allowed: 102.0 (27th) Coach: Isiah Thomas (first season with the Knicks)
The new offense caters to the point guard, who's not so good at sharing
Here is what we know about the Knicks last season: The players didn't like each other, the general manager didn't like the coach, and the coach didn't like anybody. Put it all together, and New York had its lowest win total (23) in 20 years.
The coach, Larry Brown, has been replaced by the G.M., Isiah Thomas, who is charged with repairing some fractured egos. "The first thing I need to do is instill confidence back into the players," says Thomas. "I have to make them smile again, like basketball again."
The player most in need of a pick-me-up is point guard Stephon Marbury, whose feuds with Brown last season provided constant fodder for the New York tabloids. Marbury scored just 16.3 points per game, his lowest average since he was a rookie, and averaged a career-worst 6.4 assists per game. Thomas has installed a read-and-react offense that allows more ball and player movement, giving Marbury the kind of freedom he lacked under Brown, who tried to turn him into a pass-first floor leader.
Whether giving Marbury more freedom will keep the rest of the Knicks happy is another question. Thomas has long been Marbury's staunchest (some would say only) ally. Now Thomas is betting his job -- he's operating under a "win or else" ultimatum from owner James Dolan -- that a rejuvenated Marbury will lead the team back to the playoffs. Given that the change at the top didn't come with a makeover of the roster, don't expect this season's story to have a happy ending. --Chris Mannix