How did the Westchester Knicks do last season?
The 2014-15 season marks the New York Knicks' first official campaign owning their own minor league affiliate, though they still maintained a hybrid-relationship with the Erie BayHawks last season. Erie failed to make the playoffs, but New York did call up big man Jeremy Tyler from the club, and utilized Erie even more by assigning the likes of Chris Smith and Toure Murry to the club during the year.
How will they be this season?
Having been coached by current Knicks assistant Jim Cleamons while playing for the Dallas Mavericks during his playing days, new Westchester head coach Kevin Whitted has said that his team will be attempting to learn the triangle offense this season. How much better Westchester picks the tricky offense up than the big league club remains to be seen.
But there's plenty of promise on this team. New York camp invitee Langston Galloway played well in the preseason, so his speedy nature and steady instincts figure to translate well in the NBA D-League. After playing at Monroe College and St. John's University, Orlando Sanchez is sure to be a hometown hero.
With 2014 NBA second round draftee Thanasis Antetokounmpo leading the way and potential 2015 NBA Draft selection Todd Mayo hoping to follow in his footsteps, Westchester figures to put a fast-paced product on the floor night in and night out, featuring near NBA talent.
Who is the most likely call-up?
Arguably the team's two most talented players, Antetokounmpo and Mayo both figure to spend the entire year in the minor league. New York is looking to stash to Greek Freak (2.0) in the D-League all season long, and Mayo won't be eligible for NBA play until next summer's rookie draft.
With that in mind, Galloway could be the first young gun in Westchester to be on the receiving of a call(-up). The fireball is someone who can bring high octane energy for an NBA team in limited spurts on the court. He applies intense ball pressure, and is aggressive around the basket. He could undoubtedly provide a team with an injection of life midseason, should a respective squad be suffering from injuries.
Who is the most likely assignee?
The New York Knicks and Westchester Knicks are practicing in the same facility, and the minor league team plays in the same town. Given the close proximity between the two squads, players are able to be sent back and forth at the drop of a hat.
Look for Cleanthony Early, a promising but raw prospect struggling to find his way in New York's triangle offense, to get some extra reps in Westchester. And though he surprised the masses by sneaking onto New York's NBA roster, instead of being handed an outright assignment to Westchester following camp, Travis Wear could become a familiar face for the minor league club, should he become the odd man out as Derek Fisher shores up his rotation.
Will Orlando Sanchez prove he has what it takes to play in the NBA?
As one of the best passing big men in all of college basketball last season, Orlando Sanchez appeared to be taylor made for the triangle offense. Despite getting an invite from the Knicks for training camp, the forward rarely saw the court in preseason.
Will he receive a proper opportunity to shine in Westchester? Sanchez has good good court-vision, can hit the mid-range jumper, find his teammates in transition, and has the length necessary to defend any number of positions. Should such a skill-set translate on the minor league hardwood, the St. John's alum could be receiving interest from NBA teams sooner than expected.