New York Knicks rumors are starting to include the word “playoffs” with how the team has looked during the NBA preseason. That should be a welcome change for fans that have had to deal with Knicks rumors about trading Carmelo Anthony for a number of years now. While it is never too early to start thinking about making it to the 2018 NBA Playoffs, the roster definitely has to prove that it is good enough to move up the Eastern Conference standings.

No, the results do not speak for themselves, as the Knicks lost again on Friday (Oct. 6), this time to the Washington Wizards.

The Knicks ran out a starting five of Tim Hardaway Jr., Ramon Sessions, Courtney Lee, Michael Beasley, and Enes Kanter. The players seeing the most minutes off the bench were Doug McDermott, Damyean Dotson, and Jarrett Jack. Even without Kristaps Porzingis playing the Knicks took an 85-84 lead into the fourth quarter. That’s something to build off of as the regular season approaches.

Are the Knicks better without Carmelo?

Through two games, Enes Kanter is averaging 16.5 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. is at 16 points, and Courtney Lee is at 12 points per game. Those are the three players getting the heavy minutes, but that should also include Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 15 points in the first game of the preseason.

With 44 turnovers through two games, the team definitely needs to take better care of the ball, but there are a lot of bright spots with the team that could pay dividends later on.

One of those positive aspects is that the Knicks have attempted 54 free throws through two games. At the line, the team has shot close to 85 percent, which could definitely be a big weapon to use during the regular season.

As for the defense and rebounding, Joakim Noah saw his first action of the season on Friday night. Playing in just 12 minutes, he finished with two points, five rebounds, two assists, and a blocked shot. If he can consistently fill up the stat sheet like that this year, the Knicks may be vastly improved.

NYK preseason schedule

The New York Knicks have three more preseason games, coming against the Brooklyn Nets (Oct. 8), Houston Rockets (Oct. 9), and Washington Wizards (Oct. 13) over the next week. That’s a lot of time for Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek to figure out the rotation, especially with all the new faces in town. ESPN recently stated that the starting lineup for the Knicks will be Ron Backer at point guard, Tim Hardaway Jr. at shooting guard, Doug McDermott at small forward, Kristaps Porzingis at power forward, and Willy Hernangomez at center. It doesn’t guarantee this is what Hornacek will go with during the regular season, but it’s a heavy hint.

Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott were the two players that the Knicks got from the Carmelo Anthony trade.

They should see heavy minutes, but so could Joakim Noah, especially with how impressed Hornacek has been with him. As coincidence would have it, the Knicks actually open the regular season against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 19, making for must-see television in the basketball world. It’s a good test for the New York Knicks, especially with all the eyes that will be on the game. The team still has three more games and numerous practices to prepare for it.