Since our last installment of the Knicks bench report, the Knicks have continued their hot streak by winning four straight games, tying their high streak for the year at 6 in a row. The Knicks won back to back games against the Toronto Raptors, while also taking one in Boston and last night against a very solid Memphis Grizzlies team. The Knicks now have an overall record of 44-26, and once again in these past four games, the bench has played a huge role in their success.
Most Productive Bench Player: J.R. Smith – If you are starting to see a continued trend as to who I am putting down as the Knicks most productive bench player, that’s because there is, and it’s for good reason. It’s just too hard to find someone who is more deserving at this point. Not only has Smith continued to be the most productive player off of the bench, in these past two games, he’s actually taken over as the Knicks main scorer ahead of Carmelo Anthony. In the past four games, Smith has averaged 26.5 ppg at an impressive 54% shooting from the field. However, the most astounding part in Smith’s production is the fact that he has now made it a point to get to the basket. In these past four games, Smith has only attempted more than three 3′s one time, and that was last night at home against Memphis. He is getting to the line more, he has cut down on some of his ill-advised shots, and is now making teams not only respect his outside game, but also his ability on getting to the rim. Last night, Smith also became the first player in franchise history to score 30+ points while coming off the bench since Al Harrington did it back in 2010. He is on a tear, and if he can continue this, the sky is the limit for him.
Least Productive Bench Player: Marcus Camby - Hate to knock on the wily veteran for two straight weeks, but honestly the bench has played so well that I have to try and pick somebody, and Camby is that guy. I understand that with the emergence of Kenyon Martin, and the success he has had, finding time for Camby can be hard. However, especially with Chandler out, I just had thought/hoped Camby could provide the Knicks with some quality minutes, but the fact is he just has not really been able to. Camby had failed to make an appearance in two out of the last four games the Knicks have played. Last Friday in Toronto, Camby played a total of 11 minutes, scoring no points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Last night Camby saw the court for just 8 minutes, and tallied no points and no rebounds. If we are going off of production, even if you are playing just a total of 8 minutes, tallying no points AND no rebounds, that’s just not going to get the job done. Right now, other than size, I am not sure what Camby is bringing to this team. Once Chandler gets back, I would be surprised if we see anymore action at all for Camby.
Suggested Rotation Changes - For the most part, I really like the way the rotation of the bench has been the past couple of games. Recently, Pablo Prigioni has made his way on to the starting lineup, along with Felton, Shumpert, Melo, and Martin. Pablo continues to bring to the Knicks what they need him to bring which is intensity on defense and the ability to move the ball on offense. Jason Kidd’s minutes have been very productive, and even though he hasn’t been scoring much, his passing and his overall basketball IQ continues to help the Knicks tremendously. As far as Copeland and Novak go, their defense is still shoddy, but the Knicks can compensate for that when both of them give the team productivity on the offensive end of the floor, which for the most part they have been. As far as Camby goes, I would look for his minutes to only decrease, especially when Tyson Chandler returns. James White continues to be MIA for the most part.