Doesn’t it seem like the New York Knicks are trapped in a never ending “two steps forward, one step back” idiom? Every move they make toward a championship raises another question mark.
The Knicks officially have a playing time issue on their hands. Still desperate to make some noise after the Nets’ blockbuster trade, New York inked the forward formerly known as Ron Artest to a two-year deal.
Metta World Peace, 33, can still defend multiple positions and knock down 3’s, but his 12.5 Player Efficiency Rating last year was the fourth lowest of his career.
The Knicks front court is turning into a hodgepodge of talented, unproductive and mostly overpaid veterans – each of whom wants more minutes than he’ll get. The Eye Test shows us they have one superstar, three former stars who are now bench players, one under performing All-Star center, and one Kenyon Martin. Coach Mike Woodson will have a tough time keeping everyone happy this season.
Question: who from that bench group will start?
Bargnani’s outside game fits best in a Melo-heavy offense, but that pairing leaves the team vulnerable on defense. Anthony would need to guard the opponent’s best forward, likely costing him energy and affecting his ability to score.
Starting Stoudemire should invite similar problems. To his credit, STAT played well off the bench last year and embraced the role. But would he be willing to do it again? He came to New York expecting the be the man, but only enjoyed that distinction for half a season. He and Anthony claim they can play together, but have yet to prove it. If they can share the court, Bargnani and World Peace could boast their own potent combo in the second unit.
In either scenario, the Knicks starting line will score and allow points at an impressive rate.
The cure-all appears to be World Peace. He and Anthony are both big small forwards capable of defending 3’s and 4’s, so World Peace would always guard the better forward. And in this configuration, the bench looks pretty intimidating. Stoudemire, Bargnani and Smith offer a lot of scoring and some fancy dunks, although minutes and field goal attempts would be scarce. Former stars generally don’t like someone else taking away their shots.
Plus, not that it should factor in at all, that’s seriously a LOT of money — over $35M — to spend on three bench players.
Front court depth may no longer be an issue for Woodson and the Knicks, but if times get tough, player gripes may reach an all-time high.