In the past month and a half, the Knicks have completely reshaped their roster. Their starting point guard and center were traded for two new point guards and a center. In the same trade, they received two second-round draft picks and acquired two young talents. Then, they gave Carmelo Anthony a couple bucks (124 million to be exact) prior to signing Jason Smith with their tax payer’s exception.
With Summer League over and training camp approaching quickly, head coach Derek Fisher is faced with the problem of which players to start. As we all know, the most important lineup any coach assembles is the one that finishes the game, however, it is crucial to set the tone early.
Lineup #1 – J. Calderon, I. Shumpert, C. Anthony, A. Stoudemire, S. Dalembert
This is a balanced lineup with offense weapons and defensive-minded players. Jose Calderon and Anthony seem like the only two “locks” in the starting lineup, so they are in. While Anthony was dominant in his time at the power forward last year, so was Amar’e Stoudemire, at least on offense. Putting STAT at the four forces the Knicks to insert defensive guys around him, therefore this lineup would force Shumpert and Dalembert in. Melo, while better at the power forward, played the small forward position for the bulk of his career and was good while doing so.
Lineup #2 – J. Calderon, J.R. Smith, C. Anthony, A. Stoudemire, S. Dalembert
This is the same lineup as before but switching in J.R. Smith for Iman Shumpert. With Dalembert being the only player whose defensive skills are superior to his offense, this is a lineup that will score, score, and score some more. It is hard to see this lineup being used as the final score might be 150-148 (kidding… I think).
Lineup #3 – J. Calderon, J.R. Smith, I. Shumpert, C. Anthony, S. Dalembert
This is the first lineup I introduced that features Shumpert at the three and Melo at the four. This is my favorite lineup because it enables Anthony to play in his best position around defensive guys like Shumpert and Dalembert while having a second option in the backcourt in Smith.
Lineup #4 – J. Calderon, J.R. Smith, I. Shumpert, C. Anthony, A. Stoudemire
This lineup features a front court of Anthony and Stoudemire. While that may be disastrous on the glass and on defense, it does have a major upside: they could score. In a comparable lineup last year (Felton, Smith, Shumpert, Anthony, Stoudemire), the group was killed on the glass. However, they made 2.6 more field goals per 100 possessions than their opponent. If Stoudemire was to start, New York use either lineup, but this is a possibility.
Lineup #5 – J. Calderon, J.R. Smith, I. Shumpert, C. Anthony, J. Smith
Instead of Samuel Dalembert at the center position, newly acquired Jason Smith is inserted in that spot in this lineup to generate offense. This lineup may happen, but is unlikely. If the Knicks wanted to do a lineup with Melo at the four and a scorer at the five, they would roll with lineup four.
What lineup do YOU think the Knicks should go with opening day? Comment with your thoughts below!
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