The Knicks unlike most teams play 10 men on a regular basis and possibly 11 when they have their full compliment of players. This is an advantage as the season progresses to have this depth. However it is also a burden as it will be harder to find lineups where all the players on the court can coexist and flourish properly. Coach Mike D’Antoni has been trying to mix and match lineups thus far and has not found great success as the Knicks have dropped their last 5 games in a row.
Baron Davis – Baron has proven that he still has some gas left in the tank. He has dazzled with fancy passes and shown glimpses of his former All Star self. Baron has also left Knicks fans puzzled as some of his passes are questionable decisions at best. I do like the lineup that features both Lin and Davis in the backcourt at the same time. I expect Davis to continue to get more minutes as he has looked better than Lin in many of the recent games.
J.R. Smith – Smith is the ultimate wildcard player. He can come in and light it up for 30 points on any given night. But with that offensive talent also comes with Smith taking lots of shots and most frequently his contested fadeaway jumpers. I expect Smith to get minutes based on a game to game basis. If he’s hot the Knicks will ride him for that game and if he’s not he will lose minutes to Fields or Shumpert for that particular game.
Iman Shumpert – Shumpert plays hard and unlike most players on this team, he plays defense. Shumpert can sometime fall in love with jump shots but overall is a solid contributor to the team. He will continue to get better and should see a minutes increase as J.R. and Landry see a decrease. Shumpert needs to be in at the end of games to guard the best perimeter player on the other team as he is far and away the best perimeter defender on the team.
Steve Novak – Novak has become a fan favorite for the Knicks recently as he has hit big threes and brought the Discount Double Check to the Garden. While I really like Novak as well, he is basically an open three point shooter. He is however so efficient at that that he provides instant offense off the bench as he hits more than 50% of open threes that he attempts. Novak is basically useless in other aspects of the game but his offense is much needed at times. Novak will continue to play good minutes as the Knicks offense is stagnant at most times.
Jared Jeffries/Josh Harrellson – I prefer Jeffries playing if I had to choose one of the two. Jeffries plays with a lot of heart and hustle and can make a slight difference on the defensive end. Harrellson however provides the threat of offense and he can spread the floor and hit the three. I ultimately expect Jeffries to get more minutes when he gets healthy as he provides a defensive spark off the bench along with Shumpert.