TOK Roundtable – Changes To Knicks Rotation?

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What changes would you make to the New York Knicks rotation, if any? 

Joe CaporosoIt is apparent at this point that some kind of change needs to be made and back spasms holding out Pablo Prigioni of tonight’s game against Golden State could be the impetus that allows it to occur. I’d slide Iman Shumpert to the starting two-guard and Chris Copeland in as the starting small forward. He has been productive in limited minutes and deserves a longer look down the stretch.

My second line would be built around Jason Kidd, JR Smith and Amare Stoudemire with Kenyon Martin, Steve Novak and Marcus Camby working in as situational players depending on the match-up. Eventually the most effective combination with shake out and Mike Woodson could settle down a finalized rotation for the playoffs. The unit will have plenty of offensive firepower led by Amare and JR and the needed defensive support if Camby and Martin can be factors.

Chris CellettiThere are two main changes I’d make to the rotation if I was Mike Woodson (and if I was Mike Woodson, I’d pay for some suits that actually fit and were made in this decade). First, I would start Amare Stoudemire. The Knicks have been getting off to a lot of bad starts recently. While it was an issue last season, when Stoudemire shares the floor with Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks are actually quite good offensively. The team’s defense has been horrendous to start games as is, so what’s the huge worry about inserting Stoudemire in the starting lineup? Plus, you can still hold Stoudemire to under 30 minutes a game if you start him – Ronnie Brewer used to start and play 4 minutes, so its possible. It just might help the team get off to better starts in games.

The last thing I would do is get Iman Shumpert more time at the 2 and 3. Jason Kidd has struggled and he’s, like, really old, so I don’t know why he’s topping 30+ minutes a game on a nightly basis. The Knicks really need some athleticism in the backcourt (Kidd and Pablo Prigioni are good players, but aren’t going to create anything off the bounce). The Knicks have been very good at limiting turnovers this season, so maybe you sacrifice a tiny bit of ball security and let Shumpert run the point. This team can’t get to the rim consistently – you’re telling me Shumpert can’t get to the rim in pick-and-roll situations? I say let’s find out.

Chris DiGioiaThere are always two obvious aspects of making a lineup change, and that is whom you’re taking out, and who is replacing him. To me, this is a no-brainer. Jason Kidd has continued to struggle in almost every area of the game during the Knicks recent downfall. I think every championship team needs that one bench player willing to make a sacrifice, even though they’re capable of starting for most NBA teams.

I strongly believe Amare Stoudemire is perfect for that role, because I love Carmelo Anthony playing power forward. On top of that, I don’t even think the two are a great fit together on the court. Stoudemire has been playing strong of late, molding into his new role, and adding JR Smith in the lineup will just inject youth and firepower from the tip-off. JR is a very hot and cold player, and I think throwing him into the starting lineup can help get him going early. This will finally force Woodson to play Kidd less minutes. Although the point guard position is a more strenuous task then waiting to shoot three’s on the wing, I’d love to see Kidd backing up Raymond Felton. Playing more of a true point guard role for this team in limited minutes will place Kidd exactly where he belongs.

Although I’m not endorsing Chris Copeland to be put in the starting lineup, I do believe his deserves more run. In Copeland’s limited opportunities this season when Carmelo missed games, he’s certainly shown he can put the ball in the bucket. His recent impressive outings has shown me he would bolster the bench scoring, and let’s face it, it wouldn’t hurt the Knicks to utilize more youth coming off the bench.

Kevin SmithGet Amar’e in the starting line-up! People tend to forget too quickly how dominant of an offensive player he can be. Sure, having Melo and STAT on the floor at the same time is a defensive liability, but Shump at the two and Tyson protecting the rim counteracts that. I could go on and on about why Woodson needs to start Stoudemire, but it’s probably easier if you just read this.

Matt FritzI have been back and forth in whether I think STAT should be in the starting lineup, and remain there for the majority of the season. However, I really think he has done a tremendous job at accepting his role coming off the bench, and is producing at a very high and efficient level.  My ideal starting five would be; Felton, Shumpert, Anthony, Martin, and Chandler. My thinking is that you should always have a solid and productive big man and guard to come off the bench (one’s that could usually start on most teams.) Those guys being STAT and J.R. That leaves a solid rotation of Kidd, Prigioni, Novak, and Copeland. Obviously some of this will change once Wallace and Camby return, but for now, I feel as though this is the way it should be. I am starting to lose faith in Kidd, who is certainly starting to show his age. I can’t remember the last game he shot consitantly well, and he is actually becoming more of a liability then anything. Now with the news of Prigioni’s back spasms, the Knicks do not have a great deal of depth within the guard position off the bench. When healthy however, I am starting to think Prigioni is a better option than Kidd is.

Tim Murray – It has been becoming clear that Knicks need to make changes in their rotation. The first thing that the Knicks need to do is replace Jason Kidd in the starting lineup with J.R. Smith. Kidd has been struggling and despite his ability to space the floor the team can no longer afford to have an inefficiently scoring and defending shooting guard start the game. Having Shumpert play shooting guard and Smith playing small forward would mean the starters would be: PG – Felton, SG – Shumpert, SF – Smith, PF – Anthony, C – Chandler. This lineup will give the Knicks a strong balance between their offensive and defensive assets early in the game.

I can understand the hesitation to start J.R. Smith since he has been effective as the 6th man but he has a high +/- when playing with the starters and the Knicks need to get off to hot starts more consistently.

Another key rotation change I would make would be to give Chris Copeland more minutes. He has been playing effectively when given the opportunity and if he can take a step in the right direction between now and the playoffs he may end up playing a critical role in a potential run to the finals. 

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