This is my last installment of the weekly bench report for the 2012-2013 New York Knicks season. In the final week of the season, the Knicks finished by winning three of their final four games. The biggest win coming on Sunday at the Garden against the Pacers, when the Knicks clinched the number 2 seed in the playoffs. Their only loss was handed to them in Charlotte when basically every starter didn’t even make the trip. In their last two games of the season, it was all bench players who got solid minutes, as Woodson had made sure to rest his star players in preparation of their first round matchup against the Boston Celtics. It was good seeing a lot of the bench players get the majority of the playing time in the final two games, it was well deserved.
Most Productive Bench Player: Chris Copeland/James White: I decided to double up with my selection of the top bench performer for this final week because I really do feel both of these guys deserved it. Chris Copeland continued to show that he is a flat out scorer. In the Knicks final two games against the Bobcats and the Hawks, Copeland averaged 44 minutes a game, and led the Knicks in scoring in both of those games. Copeland netted 32 points and 7 rebounds against the Bobcats, while pouring in 33 points and 3 rebounds in their season finale last night at the Garden against the Hawks. James White was a bit of a surprise for me. In the final two games, White scored 15 and 20 points respectively, while also grabbing 6 rebounds in their win against the Hawks.
Least Productive Bench Player: In my mind, there wasn’t one, and in reality, it was even tough for me to come up with one in most of my reports. Truth is, this Knicks team would not be nearly as successful as they were this year if it wasn’t for their consistent production from their bench this year. It also doesn’t hurt that they may in fact have this year’s Sixth Man of the Year on their team in J.R. Smith. The bottom line is, a lot of guys chipped in one way or another on a night to night basis, and guys like Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland surprised a lot of people. In order to go far in this league, you have to have a solid bench, and one that has depth. This year the Knicks had that, and they will look for it to continue on into the playoffs come Saturday.
Suggested Rotation Changes: With Pablo Prigioni spraining his ankle in last night’s win against the Hawks, it may in fact shake things up a little bit in terms of the rotation of the bench. So far, there is no word on when he will be ready to go. Assuming he will not be able to go this Saturday, there will most certainly be a change to the starting lineup. Does Woodson plug in Chris Copeland in replace of Prigioni?
That would give the Knicks a starting five of Felton/Shumpert/Anthony/Copeland/Chandler.
Maybe Woodson goes with Kenyon Martin at the 4 to start, or even possibly staying small and replacing Prigioni with Kidd in the starting 5. It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out nonetheless. On top of that, with the Knicks new additions of Quentin Richardson and Earl Barron, you could also see them get some minutes as well. However, I am thinking more Q Rich than Barron at this point, but we will see. Obviously the core guys of the bench will remain the same, but should the starting five look different on Saturday afternoon without Prigioni, it will most likely shake up the bench rotation up a bit too. We shall see.