Every week at Turn On The Knicks our staff will debate an issue of the week surrounding the team here in Roundtable Format. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter, and follow the site right here. Let us know if you agree/disagree.
What do you expect from Ron Artest this season?
Joe Caporoso - The hope is that Artest brings some needed defense to the Knicks wing position and has some type of consistent ability to knock down the corner three. In theory, putting him at the 3 with Carmelo Antony at the 4 should be a strong pairing that allows the Knicks flexibility on both ends of the court. Artest is never an easy player to predict and he is going to make some plays that drive all of us insane, including awful shot selections and poorly timed technical fouls. However, in the end he should be a net positive addition for the Knicks and a very valuable player to have in the rotation in the playoffs. Considering what they spent for him, it is hard to see the team regretting the move at the end of the season.
Chris Celletti - Trying to predict what RonMetta Worltestpeace will do – whether it’s on a basketball court, on Twitter, with his hair – is a crapshoot. At best, I think Artest gives the Knicks a physical presence that can defend either forward spot and someone who can knock down some threes with regularity. In some ways, if he could consistently give the Knicks what Ronnie Brewer gave the Knicks for about the first 10 games of last season (before trailing off considerably and losing his spot on the team) the Knicks will take it. It’s unfair to expect Artest to be the lock-down defender he was when in his prime, but putting him on the court with guys like Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin in certain spots will give the Knicks some real physicality and snarl. This doesn’t mean the Knicks are going to be a great defensive team, but they at least have some players who are going to make you work, and perhaps pay, for your buckets. Artest will be one of those guys.
Kevin Smith - Ron Artest’s arrival in New York has been a long time coming. Ask 100 different people what to expect from him this season, and you’ll probably get 100 different answers. Personally, I’m setting the bar low. The Knicks aren’t getting Artest in his prime. There’s tons of mileage on his legs and although he’s a thousand times more stable than he used to be, you have to think that there will be at least one slip up at some point. A few missed shots on offense was a small price to pay when he was one of the best defenders in the league, but without that production, it might be hard for him to log minutes of major impact.
I was never sold on Coach Woodson’s small ball, but if Artest plays in the starting five, my opinion can be swayed. I love that his presence can allow Shump to play his natural position without sacrificing any help on the defensive perimeter. My final predictions: 10.0 points, countless effort, 1000 words of motivation, 4 different hairstyles, 3 punches thrown, 2 punches landed, and 10 games missed due to suspension/injury.
Tim Murray - The main and perhaps only reasonable expectation Knicks fans should really have for Artest is to help raise the Knicks to a higher level of defense. He has been one of the NBA’s elite perimeter defenders and truly a pain for several opponents since his arrival to the league. It is still fair to expect a contribution on the scoreboard, maybe somewhere in the 8.0-10.00 ppg range but anything more than that is asking too much from him. He is clearly over the hill and as far as offensive output goes there are plenty of other places Coach Woodson and the Knicks should be looking.
The New York-native’s role should be to come in off the bench and create a defensive spark in The Garden where he can check the league’s elite small forwards well enough to keep Knick defenders fresher than they could have afforded last season. This was often evident, particularly in the playoffs where a run to the finals would have included checking Paul Pierce, Paul George and LeBron James in three consecutive series.