The Knicks have continued their hot streak since my last bench report, going 4-0 since last Thursday. They picked up wins against CHA, BOS, MIA, and ATL, all by an average margin of 13 points. Overall this team is on an impressive 10-game winning streak, and it’s coming at the perfect time as we near the playoffs. In their last four wins, the Knicks bench has been relatively quiet, but still has been getting the job done.
Most Productive Bench Player: J.R. Smith – Soon I am not even going to include Smith as a bench player, just for the sake of giving some other guys a chance. However, this is the bench report, and I am going to award those who produce the most, and just like pretty much every week, Smith has continued to show why he should be a serious contender for 6th Man of the Year. Last Friday night at home against the Bobcats, Smith finished with 37 points on 12 of 18 shooting. He is averaging just over 21 points a game in the last four games, and really has continued to impress not only Knicks fans, but fans all across the country.
Least Productive Bench Player: Chris Copeland – Although Chris had a very solid 22 point effort on Sunday night against the Celtics, other than that, we have actually seen Copeland’s minutes decrease. A lot of this can be attributed to the return of Tyson Chandler. With Chandler returning, the Knicks now have Kenyon Martin coming off the bench, which in returns shortens Copeland’s minutes. Copeland played nearly 12 minutes against the Bobcats and netted just 2 points. Tuesday night in Miami, his minutes were shortened to just 7, while scoring just 3 points. Last night in Atlanta Copeland played just over 2 minutes and did not score. One thing we know about Copeland is that he has the ability to score but certainly is no defensive stalwart. So when he is in there Copeland needs to make the most of his minutes and produce on the offensive end, something he is not doing on a consistent basis.
Suggested Rotation Changes: With the return of Tyson Chandler, we have seen Kenyon Martin come off the bench. Woodson has chosen go with the three guards of Felton, Prigioni, and Shumpert. Personally, I would bring Pablo off of the bench, and have Martin start as the 4. This would give them a solid starting 5 of Felton, Shumpert, Anthony, Martin, and Chandler, with the likes of Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, Steve Novak, and Chris Copeland coming off the bench. Overall, I think the rotations have been pretty consistent and solid. In our roundtable yesterday, we hinted on what would happen upon Amar’e Stoudemire’s return. It should be interesting to see what Woodson plans on doing when that does in fact happen. Surely some shakeup’s with the rotation I would assume.