NBA Preview: New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony Leads Crop of Latino Players

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks shoots over Brook Lopez #11 of the New Jersey Nets. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks shoots over Brook Lopez #11 of the New Jersey Nets. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

After a four-month hiatus, basketball is finally back as the NBA season tips off with a three game slate Tuesday.

There will be a full 82 games for the first time since the 2010-11 season following last year's shortened game schedule impacted a 161-day player lockout.

Come next June, Latinos are hopeful that they can follow in King Lebron James’ championship footsteps.

Carmelo Anthony

With the spotlight of not having won a championship finally off LeBron's back, all eyes will surely be on Carmelo Anthony, now in his second full season in New York.

Kicked out of the playoffs in the first round by their foes from Miami, Anthony and the Knicks are looking to prove themselves.

Following a disappointing playoff run, hardcore New York fans have started to question whether Anthony, who struggled under former coach Mike D'Antoni offensively, could deliver.

Since entering the league in 2003 with the Denver Nuggets, Anthony has made it past the first round of the NBA playoffs only once.

So Knicks management did some tinkering with the roster by bringing back point guard Raymond Felton replacing Jeremy Lin and further strengthened the point guard position by adding Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni, a 35-year-old rookie, who's made a name for himself as the floor general for Argentina's National Team while spending most of his career playing in the Spanish ACB league.

Brook Lopez

Expectations are also high for New York's other team, the Brooklyn Nets.

A new arena welcomes a team that has played second fiddle to the Knicks for so many years. With a reinvigorated rivalry, the Big Apple is now big enough for both teams.

Brooklyn waited and waited for center Dwight Howard. But when he eventually decided to go to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Nets knew they could not let Brook Lopez, who has been with the team since his rookie season, leave the organization.  

An integral part of the Nets new lineup, Lopez is a key to whatever success coach Avery Johnson, Deron Williams and newcomer Joe Johnson will enjoy going forward.

The Nets will need Lopez to once again become the player he was during the 2009-10 season when he averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.

Paul Gasol

With a multitude of trade rumors, it was questionable as to where power forward Pau Gasol would end up for the 2012-2013 season.  

After being initially involved in the nixed Chris Paul trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Spaniard was mentioned in rumored deals for Dwight Howard.

With the constant possibility of being traded from a team Gasol had developed with as a player it comes as no surprise as to why he had one of his worst seasons of his career as he averaged only 17.4 points a game and was missing in action during the postseason, scoring 12.5 points a game shooting just 43 percent from the field.

Now that his future with the Lakers is a bit more clear, Gasol will have to learn how to succeed with his team’s new All-Star additions of point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard.

Marc Gasol

As Pau Gasol deals at last with some normalcy in Hollywood, his younger brother and All-Star, Marc Gasol, continues to get better and better each year, making himself one of the top five centers in the league.

The hurdle the younger Gasol will face this season with the Memphis Grizzlies is his reluctance to take shots. This season the Grizzlies will need a more aggressive player in Gasol in order to get deeper into the Western Conference playoffs where they lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.

Grizzlies’ coach Lionel Hollins recently told reporters that he wants his center to make the game his at crunch time.

"I just want him to be more assertive. … Now, he just has to know that he can take over games,” Hollins said.

Manu Ginobili

Early Tuesday, reports out of San Antonio revealed that Manu Ginobili would not play in the team's first game of the season in New Orleans.

Ginobili has been dealing with back spasms and did not play in four of the Spurs eight preseason games.

With the nature of back spasms unknown in terms of recovery, retirement has been mentioned for the 35-year-old Argentine who missed a number of games last season with the Spurs.

Tiago Splitter

Even without Ginoboli, the Spurs have a potential for a promising season.

Aside from the team’s stars like Tim Duncan and a rejuvenated Boris Diaw and Patrick Mills, Spaniard Tiago Splitter will also be key.  

While Splitter did not play well in the playoffs, he is looking to prove himself in his second season in the NBA.

Brining the European-style offense he mastered while playing in Spain, Splitter has the capability of scoring 20 plus solely coming off the bench.

Al Horford

Atlanta Hawks fans may think that the team is starting all over again but that is not the case.

Now that All-Star Dominican center Al Horford is back for a full season, the Hawks have the potential for success.

Having spent the summer with the Dominican Republic National Team following a shoulder injury that required surgery that left him out for much of last season, the center is now healthy and hoping for a deep run in the playoffs with the help of some fresh faces to the Hawks -- Devin Harris, Lou Williams, Anthony Morrow and Kyle Korver.

Ricky Rubio

Last season Minnesota Timberwolves fans finally got a glimpse of Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio, who filled daily highlights with his assortment of passes to his teammates to set up scoring plays as he continued to play a large part in reviving the franchise.

Following a freak injury last season when his kneed collided with Kobe Bryant’s, Rubio was left with a torn ACL that took away whatever breath of fresh air the Timberwolves’ franchise had.

Subsequently the team lost 20 of their last 25 games, failing to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

With Rubio still unable to put significant pressure on his knee until sometime in November, the Timberwolves will be eagerly anticipating his expected comeback in December.