For 38 players in the NBA, Monday would have been the most important day for them this season as January 10th marks the day in which all the contracts of players on an NBA team will become guaranteed. Why was Monday so important than you ask? Because for those players, 5 P.M. ET Monday was when they would be released by so that they can clear waivers by January 9th.
The contracts for Chris Copeland and Rasheed Wallace will be guaranteed for the season. Knicks had tosulia.com/my_thoughts/66…
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) January 8, 2013
This would have had an impact on the Knicks, as two players currently on their roster, Chris Copeland and Rasheed Wallace, were both on non-guaranteed contracts. Mixed with the injury to Raymond Felton, many people said the Knicks should have gone out and got another guard, but with a full 15 man roster that was not feasible without cutting a player.
With that, many people then jumped to the idea of letting Copeland or Wallace go, as their contracts weren’t guaranteed anyway. This would have been a poor decision for Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald to make.
Copeland gives the Knicks a legitimate scoring option on the bench in case of an injury suffered to any of the wings ahead of him on the depth chart. He has been lights out when given the chance this season, as his per 36 minutes stats are quite impressive.
If given those minutes, Copeland would average 20.6 points while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 40.5 from the three point line. He leaves something to be desired in other areas, averaging only 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in the same time span, but there is no denying that he can fill it up.
Wallace had very little chance of being released, even with his current injury that has caused him to miss the last 12 games, because he came out of a two year retirement from the coaxing of head coach Mike Woodson. Wallace has earned his spot on the roster not only because of his veteran presence but because of his play on the court.
When Wallace appears in a game, the Knicks have a 16-4 record, scoring 102.8 points per game, while giving up only 93.7 points per game to their opposition. When Wallace does not appear in a game, the Knicks have a 7-6 record, scoring at nearly the same clip with 102.0 points per game, but playing much worse defense, giving up 102.5 points per game to their opponent.
Wallace’s presence on the court is something the Knicks miss dearly while he deals with the stress reaction in his foot, as he is very vocal on the bench and on the court, yelling out instructions for players on where to be on defense. While on the court, Wallace leads by example, grabbing 10.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.8 blocks per game per 36 minutes.
The production both Copeland and Wallace bring was not something worth losing to add a free agent point guard from the scrap heap to take over for Felton while he is injured. Veterans Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni should be able to hold down the fort until Felton returns, as J.R. Smith is capable of running the point if asked and Carmelo Anthony can handle the ball as well. With Iman Shumpert inching closer to a return, he too will help lighten the loss of Felton.
It is wise for the Knicks to keep this current crew together so they are able to gel. Depth is also something Woodson should utilize to his advantage; it is a luxury that not every coach in the NBA has. When Woodson has used that depth, the results have been very favorable as the Knicks have a 14-3 record (.824) when nine or more players record 10 or more minutes played, compared to an 8-7 (.533) record when less than eight players play for 10 or more minutes.