The Knicks have kept rolling since my last bench report a week ago, posting a 3-0 record since last Thursday. Two of the three wins recorded this past week are very solid ones, one coming last Friday at home against the Bucks, and the other was an even stronger win against Western power Oklahoma City Thunder. The most recent victory was this past Tuesday night at the Garden as the Knicks clinched the Atlantic title against the woeful Washington Wizards by a score of 120-99. The bench has continued to be a huge factor in the Knicks success, and Woodson has recently been going just about four deep consistently. J.R. Smith has still been J.R. Smith, being the predominant scoring threat off the Knick bench, but other guys have been stepping up at the right time, which needs to continue as the Knicks near the playoffs.
Most Productive Bench Player – Chris Copeland – Yes, it seems a bit odd not to have J.R. Smith’s name in this category for the first time in for what seems to be forever. However, let’s give Copeland his due for this past week. We all knew he could score, but we really hadn’t seen much scoring out of him off the bench on a regular basis. In the past three games, Copeland is averaging 12 points a game while shooting 54% from the field. What’s even more impressive is his shooting from beyond the arc. Copeland is shooting 62% from three point range in the last three games, going 4 of 6 this past Tuesday night against the Wizards. He finished with 17 points, and 9 rebounds against Washington, in one of his best games of the season. If Copeland can keep giving them consistent production offensively off of the bench, that will be huge in the Knicks efforts as they look to move forward in the playoffs.
Least Productive Bench Player – James White – White is rarely even in the rotation off the bench, and pretty much every player that is, is producing fairly well right now, so this has to go to White at this point. White hasn’t played more than two minutes in these past three games, and when he is in it seems like just about every shot he takes has no chance of going in. Obviously unless the Knicks are blowing a team out, White most likely won’t even see the floor. At this point, he is pretty much the odd man out.
Suggested Rotation Changes - As far as the rotation goes, as I had previously said, it looks like Woodson is pretty committed to sticking to his four players off of the bench in Smith, Kidd, Novak, and Copeland. Obviously the rotation will change a bit once some players start to get healthy again (Chandler, Martin, and STAT). I can’t really complain on how Woodson has utilized his bench, it clearly has been working on a night to night basis. Out of the four main guys he brings off the bench, each one has produced one way or another, through a certain facet that they bring to the team. Smith continues to score in large quantity, Kidd has been extremely crucial in his veteran leadership on the floor, and both Novak and Copeland have been a big part in the Knicks success offensively, especially from beyond the arc. It will also be interesting to see if newcomer James Singleton can make some kind of impression in the final few games.