'Allo. I'm taking a break from talking about the curious happenings of the 'Bockers lately to discuss a largely unheralded pick-up this season: F Chris Copeland. I'm pretty sure Copeland is a bit of an unknown to many of us here, as he is essentially a 28-year-old NBA rookie. If given the opportunity, however, I think Copeland could be a nice get for this team.
CC is a forward originally from New Jersey. He spent four years at Colorado, went undrafted, and has had a journeyman career to this point. He is currently signed to a non-guaranteed contract at the veteran's minimum of about $473,000 or so. His consistency will determine the amount of playing time he gets for the team.
Copeland is a tweener forward. Much like LeBron James, our own Carmelo Anthony, Atlanta's Josh Smith, and Milwaukee's Luc Mbah a Moute, Copeland has the body and build of a power forward but the skillset of a small forward. He is a solid rebounder, posting good percentages in Belgium and for Fort Worth in the D-League. His ability to slide down to the four if necessary could produce some interesting line-ups next season.
Offensively, Copeland is a mixed bag. He hasn't been the most efficient scorer when asked to create for himself. Imagine Carmelo Anthony on offense, except without the excellent footwork, ball-handling ability, and quickness, and you'll start to understand why CC struggles to create for himself. He is capable of spotting up for jumpshots and has decent enough form, but is a bit inconsistent for my tastes. Copeland is tough and seems to enjoy banging down low and drawing contact, but he isn't quick enough nor does he have sufficient ball-handling to go where he wants on the court. In the post, Copeland has a couple moves: He can face up and threaten with a jump shot, he has a bit of a face up-and-drive game, and he has a jump hook for when he gets really good position. Due to his limitations, however, Copeland is more of a "Take what the defense gives you" player than a "Take what you want" type. He can hurt the defense in a few different ways, but as yet he doesn't seem good enough to punish the defense inside the arc. Fortunately, CC is also a great 3 point shooter, developing his shot during college and making it a significant part of his game during his junior year. His skill shooting the ball from deep makes him a much more efficient player than he would be otherwise, and he wasn't afraid to pull the trigger in the D-League launching about 9 threes per 36 minutes. It's difficult to argue with results, as Copeland threw them in at 46% that season. Most recently for Aalstar (his Belgian team) Copeland knocked down 44.7% of his threes. He seems by all accounts to be a willing and capable shooter. He has been an inconsistent free throw shooter over the course of his career, but seems to be between 75-80% at the charity stripe. His opportunities to get there will be heavily influenced by his role in the Knick offense.
Copeland isn't a prolific passer by any means. He doesn't create well for others and doesn't have the mindset to do so. On the bright side, CC recognizes who he is as a player and historically turns the ball over at a very low rate. His turnover ratio was significantly higher Aalstar, but that could be a product of a different role in their offense. I expect him to be just as careful with the ball here in New York.
Defensively, Copeland is tough to read. It is difficult enough to rate domestic products defensively, much less attempt to understand foreign players like Copeland (as he has never played in the NBA, he is statistically foreign). CC is long and strong, and should be at least a decent defender at either forward position. He's not a shotblocker, nor does he play the passing lanes well, but hopefully he's agile enough to keep up.
I'm curious to see if Copeland has an impact on this Knicks roster. I don't expect him to get significant playing time, but that could change should Melo suffer an injury or if Noak underperforms. I think Copeland could be a productive roleplayer in the right situation, and he is a smart pickup for a team that hasn't always made the best personnel choices over the years. He's unproven, so there will be no demand for more playing time for him, but he is skilled and could produce if called upon. He seems like the ideal 11th or 12th man for a roster, a role I expect him to fill here. Copeland has found another chance to make an impact on an NBA team, and I hope for the best for him and for the Knicks.