'Lo, everyone. I hope you guys are having a great day. Maybe listen to the new Ke$ha song. That makes me happy. Anyways.
It was an interesting summer. We got to watch LeBron James lead the USA Men's Basketball team to a gold medal in dominant fashion. We got to see the Diana Taurasi-led USA Women's Basketball team absolutely DEVOUR the field. We had about as sob-inducing a free agency as a fan could endure. And now the season is rolling up on us.
I wanted to take a slightly different direction than some of my previous posts. I've been thinking a lot about the Knick rotation recently, and I wanted to share some of those thoughts. And hear yours as well. Let's get right to it.
I've been fairly vocal in the comments section regarding my opinion on signing any frontcourt players to this team. I have zero interest in Rasheed Wallace, Lou Amundson, Kenyon Martin, Extra E, or anyone else. The reasoning often used to justify these signings sounds like this: "Well, [X player] was good back in [sometime that isn't today], so if he could just go back to that then he could be useful!" Reread that if you need to, because it sounds absurd to me. Why would you muddle the rotation by signing a bad player and then hoping he becomes not-so-bad again? Wouldn't it make more sense to just play a good player instead?
The Knicks do not need another player in the frontcourt. They have four powerful players down low on the roster. Between Carmelo, Camby, Chandler, and Stoudemire NYK should have no issue finding a frontcourt. Everyone can rest when needed, and all those players can offer strong contributions (I'm going to pretend last year was a fluke for Amar'e). Every minute that a washed veteran plays is a minute that one of those four is NOT playing. And that is a problem. That is subtraction by addition in evidence.
People talk about Camby as if he is too old to play significant minutes. As if he is incapable of offering more than 15 minutes a night. Camby hasn't played fewer than 24 minutes per game since 2003. And quick reminder: He is among the most dominant per-minute rebounders in the NBA. At age 38, he rebounds better than Love, Howard, Bynum, etc. Shouldn't you want that on the court as much as possible?
Obviously, minutes are limited in an NBA rotation. There just aren't that many to go around after you feed the stars and starters. Rather than paying degenerating veterans, I'm a big proponent of signing D-League and international rookies who might be able to contribute at a high level. Guys like Ben Uzoh and Solomon Alabi actually have legitimate talent. It makes more sense to keep guys like that on the roster and develop them rather than pay someone simply because they have name recognition. There is nothing Rasheed Wallace would contribute that Alabi couldn't. In addition, a young player being given a chance is unlikely to expect minutes. They know that they'd need to prove themselves, and this frees up the rotation for players we already know are good. If all of this is difficult to digest for you, let me mock a rotation. Perhaps that would help:
- Raymond Felton - 32 mpg
- Ronnie Brewer, Jr. - 26 mpg
- Carmelo Anthony - 35 mpg
- Amar'e Stoudemire - 34 mpg
- Tyson Chandler - 33 mpg
- Marcus Camby - 22 mpg
- JR Smith - 20 mpg
- Steve Novak - 16 mpg
- Iman Shumpert - 11 mpg
- Jason Kidd - 10 mpg
- Kurt Thomas - 0 mpg
- Pablo Prigioni - 0 mpg
Look at that. I didn't even have enough minutes to give Kurt and Prigioni and Kidd still gets shafted. It's been suggested that we sign someone in case of injury. I don't see the point. We already have a shortage of minutes. This is a very deep team. There are 5 viable frontcourt players in the rotation alone, and only two will be on the court at any point in time. There's no need to sign another. There will always be a player who could take more minutes. Seriously.
I understand the general concept. You'd think that it couldn't hurt to have more depth. I would agree, if that depth was productive. The dregs vying for a NYK contract right now aren't. I just ask that before you advocate signing a player for the sake of their production 3 years ago, you consider what the Knicks already have.
PS - I'm certain some people are going to protest the limited minutes I gave Shump here. I'm going to remind you that Shumpert shot worse than Raymond Felton did in Portland, and still found a way to launch over nine shots a game. That's... very not good. Brewer was about as inefficient on offense, but has the sense to take less than three shots per game. So he gets the start and the minutes. It also should be noted that if Brewer returns to his previous efficiency numbers this becomes a vast gulf between their offensive production. I love Shump, but he'll need to make a serious leap to contribute more than Brewer.
K thx talk.