Meet Your New Knicks

LeBron isn't coming but these five guys will give the Knicks a new look

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Jul 12, 2010  |  Updated 11:01 AM EDT
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Meet Your New Knicks

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Not every wedding speech is deemed worthy of coverage in newspapers. Given the high likelihood that the best man had a few too many cocktails before taking the microphone, that's probably for the best.

Chris Paul's words at Carmelo Anthony's nuptials, however, are the stuff of tabloid dreams. Paul didn't offer any wisdom about the union between Anthony and LaLa Vazquez, choosing instead to focus his remarks on a union with Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire at Madison Square Garden. LeBron James, who you probably heard a bit about last week, has his own trio of terror and now Knicks fans can dream of one of their own in the years to come. 

That's all fantasy for the moment, though. Reality is a Knicks team that fleshed out its roster with other players over the weekend after getting confirmation that they would only be seeing James when they played the Miami Heat. You've heard a lot about Stoudemire already so we'll spend a bit of time introducing you to the other five new Knicks who will try to bring the Knicks back to the playoffs. They may not be LeBron and they may not guarantee much glory, but anything to stop us from contemplating the return of Isiah Thomas.

Raymond Felton: Felton joins the Knicks on a two-year contract worth $15 million and change after leaving the Charlotte Bobcats. He was the fifth pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and the third point guard taken behind Paul and Deron Williams. He isn't anywhere near those players as a pro, though he did quarterback North Carolina to a national title, but is much better than Chris Duhon, who somehow landed a four-year deal with Orlando. Do they not have NBA League Pass in Central Florida? 

Anyway, back to Felton. He's not been a great shooter in his NBA career, although he improved quite a bit in 2009-2010, and has made his name as a strong defender and distributor for Larry Brown's deliberate Charlotte teams. He'll push the ball much more in New York, something he did well at Chapel Hill, and, in Stoudemire, has a great partner for pick-and-rolls. He's also got a connection with Knick assistant Dan D'Antoni. Mike's brother coached him in AAU ball before he went to UNC, which does nothing to change the fact that the most likable things about this deal are that its length and modest payout do nothing to stand in the way of a deal for another, better point guard should it arise. 

Anthony Randolph: The centerpiece of the deal that sent David Lee to the Warriors, Randolph seems like Mike D'Antoni designed him in a laboratory. He can block shots, swipe passes, finish spectacularly and do a dozen other things that come under the heading of "superior athletic ability." He battled with Don Nelson, although far older people have also done that, and he's still raw, but it is the kind of raw that makes you think star in the making rather than unworkable lump of clay. Fun fact: He was born in Germany, a fact that will help the Knicks have an overwhelmingly Euro lilt next season. 

Kelenna Azubuike: Things to like about Azubuike include his rep as a strong perimeter defender, that he can score in a variety of ways and the fact that he was born in London and raised in Tulsa before going to school at Kentucky. There's no way the dream of what an accent like that would sound like will match up to the way Azubuike actually sounds but it is a nice dream. Less likable are the patellar tendon tear that cost him almost all of last season and the sometimes indifferent attitude that nearly all Warriors players exhibited in recent years. 

Ronny Turiaf: You probably remember Turiaf as the dreadlocked fellow in the middle for the Gonzaga teams in the early aughts or as a reserve for the Lakers. You might not know that Turiaf had open heart surgery in 2005, something that he bounced back from quite well. He's a good backup center and one of the league's best per-minute shot blockaers. As the surgery should tell you, he's a bit tougher than the average bear and that should make the Martinique-born, France-raised Turiaf a favorite in the Garden. 

Timofey Mozgov: How do the Knicks answer Mikhail Prokhorov's decision to put up a billboard across from their office? By signing a Russian center to beat the hell out of Brook Lopez. We won't pretend to know a great deal about Mozgov's game, although this YouTube video shows a fondness for finishing alley-oops that would work quite well, so we'll give the final word to someone who actually is familiar with Mozgov. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.net writes that Mozgov is "a big body and super athletic guy who rebounds, block shots and finishes really well around the rim." Sounds good to us.

We'll see how this all plays out, although it bears noting that all of the new additions come with defensive profiles beyond anything that the Knicks have put on the court in recent years. With Bill Walker getting all kinds of praise for his leaner body after an eye-opening run down the stretch, it's also impossible to miss the fact that Wilson Chandler suddenly looks like an odd man out on a team that could really use another outside shooter or two. Might he tempt someone to take Eddy Curry's expiring contract and carcass?  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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