Knicks: 3 players to watch for in preseason opener vs. Celtics

Donte DiVincenzo, knicks

New York Knicks basketball makes its long-awaited return Monday, as they will open their preseason with a matchup against the Boston Celtics, who they will also play to open the regular season on Oct. 25.

Three players to watch during the Knicks’ pre-season opener:

1. Donte DiVincenzo

There will be one Knick who will be making his team debut Monday, and that is guard Donte DiVincenzo, who signed a four-year deal with New York in the offseason.

For many Knicks fans, this will be their first-ever look at the 26-year-old Villanova product on the court. He brings a great combination of three-point shooting and defense, with a hint of athleticism.

DiVincenzo has the college connection with Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, and it should be exciting to see them on the court together for the first time in the NBA. It will be interesting to see how he meshes with the rest of the Knicks on both sides of the ball and develops chemistry as the preseason progresses.

2. RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett, who is now entering his fifth NBA season, will be looking to bounce back after an inconsistent 2022-23 season. An area he will need to improve significantly in is three-point shooting, as he shot a career-low 31% from beyond the arc last season.

A strong postseason gave a glimmer of hope for this season, but there are still lots of unanswered questions about his true fit with this current Knicks core.

Fans got a glimpse of Barrett’s in-game action over the summer as he represented Team Canada in the FIBA World Cup and played fairly well, averaging over 16 points and helping Canada obtain a bronze medal in the tournament.

The Knicks will now get a chance to see if he can continue that strong play and if he made any significant adjustments during the offseason, and also figure out what other adjustments should be made before the regular season tips off.

3. Mitchell Robinson

It was a relatively quiet summer for Mitchell Robinson, but right before training camp, he re-established his presence in the spotlight after commenting on some trade rumors around his name.

His trainer also insisted that the seven-footer has developed some “go-to moves” in the low post offensively. Fans will now have the opportunity to see if he has indeed formed a true offensive skillset that will allow him to be more involved in the gameplan, as that has been the one area of his game that has been limited throughout his career.

It will also be interesting to see how Robinson’s game will expand defensively. His 1.8 blocks per game last season ranked sixth in the NBA, and he is primed to take another step forward in his development as a player.

Final thoughts

Given that this will be just the preseason opener, any definitive conclusions made on players would be premature, but even the first preseason game can tell a lot about how the regular season will play out.

The game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. EST tomorrow night.

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