There may be occasional uncontested layups, but you take the good with the bad. (Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)
Knickerblogger's Jim Cavan, a lovely individual, wrote a lovely post for the Times's's's Off The Dribble blog today. It focuses on the Knicks' bench and how, all of a sudden, it's pretty good at basketball. One rather telling selection:
Now, with Lin at the helm, a still-recovering Baron Davis finally fit for play, the arrival of Smith, the blossoming confidence of Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries, and the imminent return of Harrellson, the Knicks suddenly have depth at nearly every position. How flush are they? For the season, the Knicks are 21st in overall bench production. During the ten games of the Linsanity era, however, the Knicks rank sixth, with a 10.8 average point differential.
That's really important, and it could reasonably be expected to improve if everyone can stay healthy at once. It used to be that whatever the starters built in the early going (if anything), the bench guys squandered in the second quarter. Now, like a lot of us have said, New York's bench includes enough talent to make, like, a mediocre full rotation. The second unit is actually capable of outscoring an opposing bench. They're such a lovably eclectic bunch, too. J.R. Smith and Baron Davis-- the Earl-Baron backcourt-- are a pair of heedless mercenaries balancing their competitive streaks with irrepressible jauntiness. The rest of them are rookies and waiver wire acquisitions (two of whom haven't played with this team yet), each with a distinct skill set, application, and zany personality. And of course there's Jared Jeffries, loitering around the paint poking opponents.
They are both effective and stimulating-- sort of a party patrol to add some levity to the game and get the crowd excited. And again, I bet Knicks six through fifteen could beat several current NBA rosters on any given night. That's so, so far from the way things were just a month ago. And as Jim says in his post, a lot of things had to fall into place-- including some unpleasant events like Josh Harrellson's broken wrist-- for the Knicks to assemble such a useful bench. The newfound depth is pretty great and, should the Knicks find themselves in the playoffs, it's bound to be a major asset. Eggs.