In a Fix from this morning, Alan Hahn notes that the Knicks aren't exactly flush with post players. New York's frontcourt is freshly stocked with talent, but the newcomers-- Amar'e Stoudemire, Anthony Randolph, and Timofey Mozgov-- are all face-up slashers better suited to screening/rolling or alleying/ooping than they are to posting up. D'Antoniball has little use for a back-to-the-basket bruiser, but even these Knicks must slow it down now and then. Here's Hahn:
Right now the Knicks don't have a low-post game or anyone who can draw the attention of defense on the blocks and grind out a few possessions during critical moments of a game. Mike D'Antoni, who didn't use much post-up in Phoenix (until the failed Shaq experiment) said he doesn't believe the team needs one and yet then offered alternatives:
"I think we can create mis-matches where Wilson [Chandler] can go to the low post against a smaller guard and hopefully our pick-and-roll is good so [the defense] will switch and he'll punish them down low," D'Antoni said. "And you can just go to Amar'e [Stoudemire], he'll face you up and go around you. We can move him at the elbow and different places if we want to pound it in against somebody."
D'Antoni's point is a good one: a number of Knicks lineups will feature guard-like forwards and forward-like guards. Chandler and Danilo Gallinari will both have opportunities to back down smaller defenders (although, as Hahn mentions, Gallo has done very little of that so far in preseason) while guys like Stoudemire and Randolph have enough range to stretch the defense. It's unorthodox and ass-backwards, but that kind of outside-in halfcourt set might be just the ticket, given the personnel.
Hahn's concern is a valid one, though. When the offense gets sloppy and the up-tempo offense turns into 7 Seconds or Mess, a traditional big man would be useful to grind the team back into a rhythm. Should the Knicks deem that an area of need, there are certainly options available. In a way, though, I'm relieved that D'Antoni doesn't have a bulldozer big man demanding minutes. Eddy Curry's brief foray into the lineup last year was a disaster in part because he wasn't game ready, but also because the staff didn't know how to use him. A reliable post-up option would be a boon in certain situations, but I worry that asking D'Antoni to slow it down and pound the rock would be like asking a cat to bark (because cats aren't typically prone to barking and would probably scoff at the suggestion, you see).
In any event, I'm still a free agent and my right-handed baby hook is getting sexier by the minute. You know where to find me, Donnie.