The New York Knicks had a splashy start to the off-season by trading for Andrea Bargnani…and you know, actually using one of their draft picks. Yet, it has quieted down since then, outside of a never ending rumor mill of backup big men, point guards and defensive minded wings. Where does the roster stand right now and what is left to do?
For the first time in a long time, the Knicks are going to have the opportunity to return their exact starting line-up from a previous season along with their 6th man. It remains to be seen if Mike Woodson will move away from his consistently successful small-ball, two point guard line-up of Raymond Felton-Pablo Prigioni-Iman Shumpert-Carmelo Anthony-Tyson Chandler with JR Smith being the first player off the bench, but let’s hope he doesn’t. Those 6 players were the overwhelming majority of the cause for a 54 win team last season…so let’s not go around fixing what isn’t broken.
After the top 6, the Knicks are working with Amare Stoudemire, his 20 minute per night limit and perpetually questionable knees, Andrea Bargnani looking for a career revival, first round pick Tim Hardaway Jr (we know how Mike Woodson feels about young players) and then plenty of question marks. Who rounds out the depth and back end of the rotation?
It sounds like undrafted free agent CJ Leslie is likely to stick as the Knicks partially guaranteed his contract. Chris Connolly broke down Leslie here and while he is intriguing, it is very hard to see him becoming a rotation player in year one. The same goes for other potential head-turners on the summer league roster like Tony Mitchell.
Reasonably, the Knicks need to add a backup point guard, backup power forward and another player who can handle minutes on the wing. The market is thinning by day and the biggest splash the Knicks might be able to make is hoping Ron Metta World Peace Artest slips through the amnesty process and signs a low-cost deal. More likely, the Knicks are looking at bringing Kenyon Martin back (again, more continuity), adding a guard like Aaron Brooks (not an ideal backup point guard but can provide scoring in spurts), and then going through wing scraps like Raja Bell, Josh Childress, or Maurice Evans. There are rotational players out there who can handle contained roles but the Knicks final additions won’t be headline grabbers.
Overall, you’d hope at least three players with a reasonable level of NBA experience are added in the coming month or so. As of the now, the Knicks are dangerously thin after their top six, considering Amare’s and Bargnani’s health situation.