The 2016 offseason has brought plenty of change to the mecca of basketball, as the New York Knicks are primed to compete for a playoff spot next season.

The signings of former BullsDerrick Rose and Joakim Noah give the team a new look front-to-back on paper, though it’s yet to be seen to work in the hardwood.

“I’m really excited, man. I’m working hard,” Noah told Roger Krastz of XXL Magazine. “Right now, I just find myself going to the practice facility and meeting all the new faces and trying to get a routine going.”

The Knicks’ Pieces

A New York native himself, Noah relishes the doubts and the underdog role the Knicks will likely play this year.

The pieces are there: a capable defender in Courtney Lee, a good punch off the bench in Brandon Jennings, a solid point guard in Rose and a great rebounder and interior defender in Noah.

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Those additions, plus a proven scorer in Carmelo Anthony and an evolving talent in Kristaps Porzingis, make this team a playoff contender.

Yet analysts around the country don’t believe it will work.

Joakim Noah and the Underdogs

ESPN’s Summer Forecast has the Knicks as a 40-win team that will miss the playoffs. Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider projected the Knicks as a 35-win team by using real plus-minus. Sports Illustrated gave team president Phil Jackson a ‘D’ grade for his offseason moves.

Joakim Noah has embraced the underdog mentality.

“I think we have a lot of new faces, a lot of veterans,” said Noah. “A lot of great young talent so we’re trying to put it all together and do something that’s going to make the city proud. I grew up watching all of the New York teams and to me, the Knicks is the ultimate underdog team so I’m proud to be a part of that.”