NBA Roundtable

2012 Team Preview: New York Knicks

In Season Previews on October 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm

New York Knicks

Starters

  • PG – Raymond Felton
  • SG – Iman Shumpert
  • SF – Carmelo Anthony
  • PF – Amare Stoudemire
  • C  – Tyson Chandler

A good but unexceptional starting unit. One high level (top five) starter and two very good starters (top 10-12) in Carmelo Anthony + Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire respectively. Plus two well below average starters in Felton and Shumpert.

Carmelo Anthony is the best player on the Knicks. An excellent scorer. Has a strong low post game, midpost game, high post game, three point range on his jumper, dribble penetration, pick and roll play, slasher, pull up jump shots, midrange game, jab steps, an assortment of head and ball fakes, can finish around the basket and gets to the free throw line at a high rate. One of the most versatile and skilled scorers in the NBA. A good passer. A good defender/rebounder but lacks consistent effort/focus there. Capable of being a very good defender/rebounder. Knows how to play defense.

Tyson Chandler is the second most important player on the Knicks. The third best defensive center in the league behind Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett (yet somehow won the DPoY award last year). A solid rebounder. So-so passer. No jump-shot and limited post moves. Limited shot-creator. Very good threat in the pick and roll due to his quickness, mobility, leaping ability and capacity to finish acrobatically around the basket.

Amare Stoudemire is the second most talented player on the Knicks but he was quite poor last season. A devastatingly effective offensive player at the center position due to his explosive athleticism (quickness advantage) in combination with his highly skilled face up game. Less effective at the PF slot when there is poor spacing (Tyson Chandler) and because PFs are quicker bigs than centers. A dodgy defensive player who doesn’t understand how to play team defense. A weak rebounder / possession creator. A limited passer. Has tried to add a post-game to his arsenal this off-season but I’ll believe that when I see him use it on the floor. Big season for Amare after a disappointing year last season.

Iman Shumpert was a highly rated rookie for the Knicks last season. A very good defensive player who plays stout man-to-man defense, above average team defense and creates turnovers at a high clip. A solid rebounder. A good ball-handler. Limited playmaker due to weak decision making which often leads to unnecessary turnovers. Limited scorer due to weak decision making / shot selection. Streaky shooter. Too many bad days and too few good days. Very inefficient offensive threat. Cannot be relied upon on that end of the floor at this point in his career.

Raymond Felton has choked twice in the playoffs. He choked because he has average athleticism (lacks explosiveness) and only a mediocre skill-level (as a scorer, shooter and passer) so when he comes up against top class opponents / defensive squads, his lack of talent gets found out. Unlike say someone like Derek Fisher, Felton has been unable to accept a smaller role due to his limitations and continues to use far too many possessions for such a limited player. Wasteful player who shouldn’t be trusted as a starter on a playoff team due to his inability to adapt to role best suited for to for the good of the team. More likely to shoot his team out of a playoff game than to help them win it.

Bench

  • PG – Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni
  • SG – JR Smith
  • SF – Ronnie Brewer, James White, Chris Copeland
  • PF – (Carmelo Anthony), Steve Novak
  • C  – Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace

A very good second unit. Very strong to excellent reserves at the PG, SG, SF and C positions. Light at the backup PF slot but the Knicks could use Carmelo Anthony there as an undersized quick PF to seal that hole.

Jason Kidd will be one of the best backup guards in the league. A very good defensive player. Excellent team defense. Multi-position defensive player. Very good man-to-man defense against twos and threes and capable defender against slower PGs. Liability against quick PGs. Excellent possession creator with elite rebounding skills and the capacity to force turnovers at a high level. A really good passer. Good vision. An excellent floor general / decision maker. Excellent toughness (mental and physical) and leadership. A weak scorer. Limited dribble penetration. Can only really score in spot-up shooting situations where he is a well above average three point threat.

JR Smith is a very good backup SG/SF. A talented scorer who can get to the basket and hit long distance shots at a prolific rate. Lacks a midrange game. A gifted playmaker / ball-handler but doesn’t always use his talent level to good effect. Can be shot-happy / selfish. An average defender. Good rebounder. Explosive scorer/shooter off the bench.

Ronnie Brewer is an excellent defensive wing off the bench. An excellent man-to-man defender at SG and a very strong one at SF too. An excellent team defender at both positions. Creates turnovers. A well above average rebounder at SG. A solid rebounder at SF. Great finisher in transition. One of the best cutters off the ball in the league. Limited jump-shot. Lacks shot-creation skills. Limited overall scorer.

Marcus Camby is a very strong rebounder and possession creator at the center position. An average defensive player. And a fairly pathetic scoring threat. Very good passing big man who can play in the high post. His lack of bulk/muscle can limit him as a post defender. Less active as a team defender than he was 2-3 years ago.

Kurt Thomas is one of the toughest players in the NBA. A rock solid 260lbs at 6-8. A reliable midrange jump-shooter. A strong man-to-man and interior team defender. A slow big at this late stage in his career. Struggles as a team defender at PF position. Needs to play center position. Good alternative to Marcus Camby (physical toughness, jumpshot vs Camby’s length and possession creation).

Rasheed Wallace has been out of the NBA for two years. He was dreadful in the regular season for Boston back then but played well in the playoffs for them. I expect that he is still able to play very strong low post defense but is limited laterally/mobility wise as a team defender. A weak rebounder / possession creator. A streaky shooter who’s shot will probably be more unreliable than ever before. Good post-game but rarely uses it.

Steve Novak is a lights out three point shooting big man but an extremely limited defender/rebounder. Not a rotation player. Third string PF.

Overall

A midlevel playoff team that is capable of winning a round or two.

The Knicks should be a 55 win team this year. Strong threat to be the third seed in the East.

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