With the acquisitions being made at a frantic pace due to the shortened training camp and preseason we see a new look Knicks team this year. In my past article I analyzed the acquisition of Tyson Chandler and now I’d like to focus on the other moves the Knicks have made in the past few weeks.
New York signed both Mike Bibby and Steve Novak for similar reasons; to shoot 3’s and spread the floor. Bibby was atrocious in last years playoffs for the Miami Heat and the Knicks are hoping they get a Bibby more like his Sacramento King days or even his Atlanta Hawks days. The Steve Novak move is to fill the shoes of Shawne Williams as a big that can shoot threes after Williams chose to take more money to go to the Nets rather than stay with the Knicks. Novak is statistically a better career 3 point shooter than Williams at 41.7% compared to WIlliams’ 35.4% and should be an upgrade at that role.
In the two preseason games against the Nets we also got to see rookies Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrelson in real game action. Shumpert showed glimpses of extremely versatile talent as he is very athletic, can shoot the basketball efficiently, create his own shot and play stingy defense. Harrelson showed that he is going to play hard and bang down low and that he can also spread the floor with his soft touch from the perimeter.
Renaldo Balkman is another Knick that played very hard and could have in fact earned a spot in the teams rotation by doing so.
Another big move that can prove integral with the success of the team this year is the Knicks going out and getting Baron Davis for the veteran minimum. This could be a huge steal if Baron can stay healthy and contribute in the D’Antoni system like most Knick fans think he can. Davis will have to focus on being more of a distributor in this system to fully flourish.
Baron Davis’ timetable is indicated as of now to being 4-10 weeks. With Davis sidelined, the starting lineup will likely be as follows Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. When Baron Davis gets healthy I expect him to start right away with Toney Douglas getting moved to his more fitting sixth man role.
Our bench should consist of Mike Bibby, Josh Harrelson, Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak getting role player minutes and Bill Walker possibly getting some minutes also.
Overall I’d grade the Knicks opening day roster as a B+. I feel that the Knicks can still add some more pieces but this is the closest they have been to winning a championship in over 10 years.