Since my last bench report last Thursday, the Knicks have gone 2-1, losing last Friday night in Toronto, but then regaining momentum by winning their last two games against Philadelphia and Golden State. Not much has changed by way of the Knicks bench production, aside from the fact of what I believe to be a very consistent effort from their two big producers off the bench in J.R. Smith and Amare Stoudemire, and the usual minutes given to the likes of Steve Novak and Pablo Prigioni. Here is my take on this weeks past bench production.
Most Productive Bench Performer – Amare Stoudemire – I have mentioned how time and time again I have been back and forth on whether I think STAT should be in the starting lineup or not. He has shown however, that he fits the roll of coming off the bench extremely well. The first word that comes to mind with STAT is consistency, and he certainly has shown that he has that. In these past three games, he has shot an astounding 21 of 27 of the field. That is a remarkable 78%, i’ll take that any day of the week. Even though I would like to see his rebounding production go up a bit, averaging 5 rebounds coming off the bench isn’t too bad. Having a weapon like STAT come off the bench is an asset most teams would salivate over, and on most teams he he would probably be a starter. If his production continues the way it has been, Mike Woodson, along with all of us Knicks fans, will be happy campers.
Least Productive Bench Performer – Steve Novak – I have been pretty dissappointed in the production the Knicks have been getting out of Novak. Not only is he not contributing offensively, he continues to be a liability on defense. Over the course of the last three games, Novak has shot just 3 of 10 from the field and 3 of 8 from beyond the arc. Obviously Novak’s main role is to come in to the game and knock down shots, especially from three point range, however, unlike last year, he has not been able to consistently show he can do that on a night to night basis. What’s more is the fact that when Novak is in the game, their defense overall as a team is much slower. His on the ball defense is weak, and when in the game most offenses look to attack off of that. In order for the Knicks to be successful, Novak has to start doing what he is good at, and that’s making shots.
Suggested Rotation Changes – Yesterday in our weekly roundtable I had mentioned that I think a good starting lineup for the Knicks would include; Felton, Shumpert, Melo, Kenyon Martin and Chandler. With the lack of production the Knicks are getting from Jason Kidd, I believe that needs to eventually be the everyday starting five. I just don’t know what, if anything, the Knicks are getting out of Kidd. I think it’s time he starts coming off the bench, and maybe that is a change not only the Knicks need as a team, but Kidd needs for himself. Other than that, I think the rotations are pretty solid off the bench, and once they get a consistent starting five, it will be even easier. Like I said, I love STAT and J.R. coming off of the bench, and I am not sure there are too many teams in the NBA who can say they have a better guard/post player combo coming off of their bench. Not sure what has happened to Chris Copeland since his garbage minutes in INDY, but I believe he deserves some more minutes, if not for any other reason than the fact that he plays with passion and can give the Knicks a much needed spark on defense at times.