FanPost

The minutes issue: IS it an issue?


First, let me say that I'm all for some team depth. A back-up forward/center and/or a back-up PG would be welcome addtions in my book. But two thoughts immediately jump to my mind when talking about getting STAT and Felton more pine-time. And they are as follows:

1) With D'Antoni's playing time allotment past, and his oft-talked about "short rotation", coupled with his "produce to get PT" philosophy, will any back-up that we get be able to crack the line-up? Think about it. The current Knicks have had a full off-season, training camp, and a quarter of a season of practices and face-time with Pringles. And even these familiar faces aren't getting burn. Unless D'Antoni has a specific player that he's "pre-approved" and already trusts (old Suns guys? PG's from his "Over-50 Italian Men's" basketball league?), what's the guarantee that they're going to get on the floor right away (particularly given the non-starter/on-the-cheap types that we'd get)? Which brings me to my second point...

2) I haven't heard (and doubt I EVER will hear) Felton and Amare make a peep about their playing time.  I'd be hard-pressed to think of ANY occassion where a player would say, "You know, I'd like a little less burn." Felton is all of 26 years old, he's been set free from the restrictions that Larry Brown's offense put on him, and since becoming a full-time starter in his second year (2006-7) he's averaged 36, 37, 37, and 33 minutes a game (while missing all of 9 games over those 4 seasons). This year he's averaging 38. Sure, he's playing more possessions, but what would be an acceptable amount of rest for this kid in-game? Maybe we shave 4 minutes off the average, get him down to 34 a game? Is that going to make or break him?

With Stoudemire, the worry is slightly more understandable, given that he's a big, he's had injuries in the past, and he's our absolute star. But, again, if you look at his past seasons, this is a guy who's played somewhere in the 32-to-36 minute a game range. He's currently at 37 mpg. Is a 5 minute breather going to be the answer? (and please keep in mind that this is totally separate from the "move him out of the center position" discussion. I'm talking strictly about a viable substitution option to give Amare rest).

So, I guess my final thought is this... which of these scenarios makes the most sense? Wheeling and dealing for unproven (to D'Antoni's eyes, at least) back-ups for Felt and STAT so they can get a 4 or 5 minute blow a night (and you show me a player that can be effective in 4 to 5 minutes a night, and I'll show you something equally less likely. Like Clyde in a wife-beater and sweatpants. And who's minutes would you cut to get them more PT? Douglas? Landry?) Or leave it to D'Antoni to figure out some other way to get these guys a little break with his current roster (whether that involves DWTDD, Landry, AR, or maybe Mozgov bringing the ball up court and playing point-center). Honestly, I think this fear over minutes is more local media and fan-generated, and, even more honestly, rightly so. We've got something valuable on the court, and we want to protect it. But I'd bet dollars to donuts that if Amare and Felton (and any player in the NBA) were asked "Is there any way you're playing time on the court could be made more effective?", they'd answer "Yeah, I should be playing 48 minutes a night".

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