Turn On The Knicks is happy to announce we have added Aaron Jacobs to our writing staff for the 2013-2014 NBA Season. Make sure to give Aaron a follow on Twitter and check out his debut piece below.
Since the start of the 2013-2014 NBA offseason the New York Knicks have been surprisingly active in looking for ways to better the team. With roughly $58 million dollars committed to the front-court of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks front office was forced to get creative this offseason to make the team better and compete for the ultimate goal of a NBA championship. Although the offseason isn’t quite over yet, the Knicks already have 12 of their 15 roster spots filled, which means we already have an idea of what the Knicks lineup will look like. With the acquisitions of Andrea Barngani and Metta World Peace, what would be the best starting lineup and second unit for the New York Knicks this season?
The Knicks won 54 games last season, with minimal change to the starting lineup besides injuries and the big change from Jason Kidd to Pablo Prigioni at the starting shooting guard spot. The Knicks found great success with the “small ball” lineup throughout the season slotting Carmelo Anthony at the power forward spot leaving Tyson Chandler as the only true big man on the court at most times. While this lineup was effective on the court, the Knicks should look to make a change to a more conventional lineup next season.
“Small ball” isn’t going to beat the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets next season. All of those teams possess powerful frontcourts that will need a true power forward and center on the court in order to contain them from scoring in the post. It’s unfair for the Knicks to ask Carmelo Anthony to defend the likes of David West, Carlos Boozer and Kevin Garnett. This will lead to a mid-season breakdown of Carmelo Anthony from a physical standpoint. After being beat down in the post like that it’s no wonder he has been suffering from nagging injuries during his time in New York.
So moving forward what would be the best solution for the Knicks starting rotation and second unit?
The best lineup for the Knicks to start out with next season would be Raymond Felton at point guard, Iman Shumpert at shooting guard, Carmelo Anthony at small forward, Andrea Bargnani at power forward and Tyson Chandler at center. Bargnani is a legitimate 7-footer with ability to stretch the floor and knock down perimeter jump shots all the way out to the three-point line. Starting the former number 1 pick at PF will force opposing forwards to defend the perimeter and out of their comfort zone. This will give the Knicks more continuity on the offensive end. Tyson Chandler’s presence should help mask Bargnani’s defensive inability.
Many will argue that reigning 6th man of the year J.R. Smith should be put into the starting lineup for his scoring ability, but his offensive prowess in best suited coming off the bench. Amare Stoudemire will be best utilized as backup center and he will not see more than 20 minutes per game this upcoming season to preserve his knees, and having an offensive threat behind Tyson Chandler will benefit the Knicks big. Rounding out the second unit will be Metta World Peace, Kenyon Martin and Pablo Prigioni.
World Peace is a rugged defender who has the ability to defend multiple positions given his size and strength; he also has range out to the three-point line. Kenyon Martin will be a great bench option for Bargnani because he and Amare Stoudemire will benefit from a pass-first point guard in Prigioni. This will make the Knicks second unit strong in the pick & roll and pick & pop game.
So to recap:
Starting Lineup: PG – Raymond Felton, SG – Iman Shumpert, SF – Carmelo Anthony, PF- Andrea Bargnani, C – Tyson Chandler
Second Unit: PG- Pablo Prigioni, SG- J.R. Smith, SF- Metta World Peace, PF- Kenyon Martin, C – Amare Stoudemire
Spot Minutes/Garbage Time: C.J. Leslie, Tim Hardaway Jr.
If the Knicks move back to a conventional lineup in 2013-2014 and they can mesh on both sides of the court, the Knicks will stay a top 5 team in the Eastern Conference.