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The Cambman Cometh


I'm taking a quick break from being yelled at in the comments section somewhere to write briefly on what could be the biggest steal in this summer's free agency: Marcus Camby. Now before you start, let me first say that I realize he is old. Marcus Camby is an old basketball player. With that out of the way I can move on to all the great things Camby does.

I'll begin with one of the myths about Camby's defensive prowess. I want to shatter that one immediately: Marcus Camby is not a great defender. He isn't a bad defender by any means. Camby is still an excellent shotblocker, just as he was for the Knicks so many years ago. Defense is about more than shotblocking, though, and Camby isn't great at other aspects of defense. This has been the case throughout his career, and in his final NBA years I do not expect that to change.

Camby is an interesting player on offense. Despite his size and touch, Camby isn't a great pick and roll finisher. He doesn't have the instincts and agility of guys like Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Though his shooting motion is unorthodox, Camby is actually a very good shooter for his size. Houston utilized his shooting stroke to great success last season, as 25.5% of Camby's offensive possessions came in spot-up situations. Camby converted them at a 51.4% clip, earning a PPP of 1.05 in that situation. In addition to his solid shooting, Camby is a savvy off-ball cutter, and creates many of his opportunities by cutting off of actions designed for other players. Jason Kidd has incredible court vision, and cutters like Camby add another dimension to an offense that was decidedly stagnant last season. Finally, a massive percentage of Camby's field goal attempts occur after his offensive rebounds. Camby is an absolutely dominant rebounder (more on this very soon) and his offensive rebounding allows him and his team more attempts on offense. The impact of this cannot be understated.

The single best attribute Marcus Camby brings to this team is rebounding. Camby is one of the best rebounders in NBA history. Last season Camby put up a total rebounding percentage of 22.82, good for 18th all-time. Camby is an unreal rebounder. Rebounding is one of the more underrated stats in the box score, and Camby is the best available at it. I can't gush enough about this.

Camby is careful with the ball, posting a career turnover percentage of 12.8%. The Knicks struggled with turnovers last season, so major minutes for a player who takes good care of the ball can only help.

So how does Camby fit on this roster? He is obviously incredibly productive, but Camby has spent the majority of his minutes for the past few seasons at center, where we already have the excellent Tyson Chandler. Though Camby can and should spell Tyson when Chandler needs rest, I would like the Knicks to find more ways to incorporate Camby's production than that. It may be worth it to test out some line-ups placing Camby at the 4 alongside Chandler. Camby is simply too productive to relegate to the bench when he performs so well as a starter. Camby's jump shot allows the Knicks to return to a play that has taken a back seat since the '10-'11 season: The 1-4 pick and roll. Chandler has very little offensive game outside of the paint, and that made it difficult to space the floor appropriately for the PnR offense that Mike D'Antoni championed. With Camby in the pivot, the dynamic changes entirely. Marcus Camby is capable of sitting 16-18 from the basket on the opposite elbow while Felton/Kidd run a PnR with STAT. Camby's man can't gamble and help off of Camby like he would Chandler because Camby is fully capable of making an open jumper. This simple change offers a world of improvement to the Knicks' offense. The threat of Camby's jump shot makes Amar'e's roll that much more devastating. In addition, Camby's defensive rebounding helps to cover STAT's average work on the glass. There are so many other things that Camby brings to this team, but these are some of the immediate effects his play should have on our roster.

I am ecstatic about the acquisition of Marcus Camby. The less-informed may try and convince you that the Knicks were foolish for locking up Camby at this age, but I think it will be the best move they've made this off-season. Hopefully this helps you get over some of the sad events we've recently experienced as Knick fans. I don't always understand what the front office is thinking, but it seems they hit a home run with this one.

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