The New York Knicks are going to be sporting a lot of new faces this season. The Knicks added a lot of proven veterans and young projects by drafting RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis while signing Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, and Marcus Morris.

Coming off a 17-win season — which was the worst record in the NBA and tied for the worst record in franchise history — head coach David Fizdale and the new-look Knicks will be looking to take a step in the right direction.

How will their rookies fare? Will their young building blocks have breakout seasons? How will their veterans coexist in their new surroundings? Could anyone be moved before the trade deadline?

Here are five bold predictions for the New York Knicks in the 2019-20 NBA season.

RJ Barrett will lead the Knicks in assists

Barrett is going to have the chance to be the driving force of the Knicks’ offense from the get-go, but he will, of course, have to make some adjustments. The biggest obstacle will be adapting his offensive skill set. Barrett can make things happen with the ball in his hands such as getting inside off the dribble and hitting contested jump shots.

But he’s not going to be able to use his size to his advantage early on in his NBA career. As a result, he’s going to serve as a multi-dimensional playmaker, by means of facilitating for his teammates.

The most overlooked part of Barrett’s one year at Duke was his passing. While a primary scorer, Barrett handed out 4.3 assists per game and created open looks for others. Dennis Smith Jr. and Elfrid Payton will receive the bulk of the point guard reps for the Knicks, but Barrett is going to have the ball in his hands often and will be looking for the open man more than he was in college, as he can’t overpower defenders with his size on contested jump shots.

mitchell robinson will average a double-double

Robinson was one of the most intriguing developments in the NBA last season. Drafted with the 36th pick in the NBA Draft, he exceeded all expectations and was one of the most efficient rookies in the NBA. Averaging 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in just 20.6 minutes per game, he was a spark plug off the bench.

Robinson is a tenacious shot blocker, hits the boards on both ends of the floor, and finishes relentlessly inside. His weakness is his tendency to get into foul trouble early and often. With his rookie season in the rearview, Robinson is going to limit the fouls and average a double-double while playing a larger role.

The big man got some starting nods and played with more consistency in the second half of last season, built chemistry with Smith on alley-oops, and showed a glimpse of what the future has in store. Robinson will start at center, stuff the stat sheet, and establish himself as a force in the paint on both ends, blossoming into the ideal modern-day center.

Frank Ntilikina will be traded before the NBA trade deadline

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Ntilikina is the third point guard on the depth chart and has been rumored to be on the trade block for a while. This season, general manager Scott Perry is finally going to pull the trigger on a trade to send the 2017 draftee elsewhere.

Ntilikina’s two years in The Big Apple haven’t gone as planned. In his rookie season he had an inconsistent role, but near the conclusion of the regular season, the point guard was granted more playing time and showed off some offensive upside — which has been a weakness in his game. But his sophomore season produced discouraging results.

The young guard ended up getting buried on the bench, dealt with recurring injuries, was an inefficient shooter, and struggled to create his shot. Ntilikina has the potential to be a superb defender, as his long wingspan can disrupt ball handlers and he plays competitive on-ball defense, but his offensive game is a severe detriment. Plus, his defense isn’t to the point where it’s an enormous asset.

Simply put, it’s time for both parties to move on.

The Knicks will be one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA

The Knicks have some youngsters and veterans with defensive upside and/or who have competed at a high level on that end in the past such as Robinson, Payton, Ellington, Morris, and Damyean Dotson. However, collectively speaking, this team is going to struggle defensively.

Last season, the Knicks were the youngest team in the NBA, and they were one of the worst defensive teams. Their projected starting five (Dennis Smith, RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson) is a defensive unit with an improving defender, a rookie, and three players who struggle to hold their own. Sure, they’re young, but in the case of a lot of veterans and tenured Knicks players, they are who they are defensively and are going to, at best, marginally improve.

The Knicks are going to try to beat teams by taking advantage of turnovers and having a fiery offense. The only way this team is going to improve defensively is by getting more reps, but it’s going to take a while for them to be a respectable bunch, let alone a top-tier unit.

The Knicks will double their 2018-19 win total

The Knicks aren’t a playoff team, but they have a healthy mix of youth and veteran talent, which will allow them to double their win total from last season. Barrett and Knox are an athletic wing duo, and they shouldn’t get in each other’s way offensively. Smith is an explosive player, while Dotson and Allonzo Trier provide an offensive spark off the bench. Robinson is simply a walking highlight reel.

Meanwhile, Randle is one of the best interior players in the league, Gibson is a log inside, Portis and Morris are well-rounded scorers, and Ellington and Bullock are reliable outside shooters. There are a lot of new faces who will likely play double-digit minutes on a nightly basis, and configuring a consistent rotation is one of Fizdale’s biggest challenges.

It’s inevitable for the Knicks’ young core to endure a collective improvement, and they have a lot of veterans who complement their skill sets. Plus, it’s the Eastern Conference, where nothing at the bottom of the playoff picture is a given and most teams are in the playoff hunt through March. The Knicks have the camaraderie and talent to be in the playoff mix. Doubling their win total will mark a successful season.