Early in the summer I was thinking about what the Knicks needed to solidify their empty roster. The only core players in place were Melo, Tyson and Amar’e.
When NY signed Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas, I thought and still do think it was a positive move in the right direction. I believed Jeremy Lin was too much a risk at that price point. My reasoning being, Lin was already hurt at the time and I was questioning his durability since he played in so few games. 30 games was not a big enough sample for me to give that amount of money. If Lin got hurt the Knicks season would be derailed.
I also believed that Kurt could be a solid 3rd string PF to help with toughness and depth.
I believed bringing in Kidd was a brilliant move; he could mentor the team on championship basketball, as long as he was not used too much he could help this team win.
Re-signing Steve Novak and JR Smith was also the right move to make; their salaries were reasonable and their success the previous year was a forecast for the future.
Adding Spanish League legend Pablo Prigioni was a risk, but I liked his game, even though I do not think he is being given the proper minutes, resulting in lack of confidence on his part. I thought a combination of Pablo and Kidd would be a perfect fit for the back up point; both sharing minutes would have reduced fatigue for both players.
The addition of Marcus Camby was a shrewd move. He was a valuable backup the last few years of his career and this was just what Tyson Chandler needed to stay aggressive and use all his fouls if necessary. I thought having either Marcus or Tyson on the floor at all times would be devastating for other teams’ offense.
Reality has set in and so have the injuries and fatigue. To look back and criticize the moves would not be fair. I will not be a Monday morning quarterback, however some of these moves did not work out this year and at this moment the New York Knicks players are all under performing in every way. From Superstar to the 15th man, the Knicks are scratching their heads looking for answers.
The one move I did not understand at the time, as well as now, was the Rasheed Wallace move. He was 2 years removed from the game, 38 years old and a gamble to add valuable minutes to a thin frontcourt with the uncertainty of Stoudemire. I always believed that Amar’e needed a backup that could give you 24 minutes a game. I was never sure that Amar’e would be healthy enough all year, so signing a back up to fill in whether Amar’e was not playing well or injured was the smart move.
Many guys came to mind at the time: K-Mart, Vernon Goodridge, Henry Sims, Andray Blathche, and Ivan Johnson are just some of the players that were in my wheelhouse. However, Woody and the Knicks management wanted Rasheed Wallace. At first I was surprised, but then I remembered the Rasheed from years back and remembered the wisdom and competitive edge he brought to teams. This was all well and good until camp rolled around and Wallace was missing in action, he was on the sidelines working out and trying to get into proper shape. This took longer than I expected and this was the beginning of something bigger. Sheed played well for the Knicks early on in the season, helping them to an 18-5 record, however his stress reaction sidelined him indefinitely and the PF/C spot for the Knicks was left with a gaping hole and the second-guessing began.
What They Should Have Done Instead:
Could have the other players I mentioned have helped in other ways or was the injury bug inevitable? I believed number one on that list was Kenyon Martin. His 42 games with the LA Clippers he averaged 5 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block in 22 minutes. His defensive intensity and bad boy mentality is exactly what the Knicks needed at the time. In the summer when the Knicks were looking for size and length, Kenyon should have been on their radar from the beginning. He could have added the toughness to the frontline the Knicks sorely needed. The Knicks decided to go in a different direction and it completely backfired on them, however the time is the present and the Knicks have finally brought in K-Mart to help bring his intangibles to the New York Knicks. Will he help? Time will tell, but if this does
Forecasting into the future is always hard to do. If I was GM of this team, I would be looking towards the summer of 2013 and doing my due diligence for a PF that can give you a solid 24 minutes a game. Whether it is Kenyon Martin or another player, this is one of the Knicks most important additions for the 13/14 season.
We all talk about this year and winning it now, however a GM must think ahead. The Knicks have a 3-year window to get this trophy. Bringing in the proper players and depth will get us there.
Peter A – Knickswag