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Friday, October 31, 2014

2014 Preseason Roundtable: What should be our starting five? What about down the stretch?

As we approach the start of training camp and — EEEEEEEEEK! — real basketball, our in-house panel will be weighing in on the biggest questions facing this year’s Knickerbockers. Will Melo-at-the-Four return for an extended encore? What about two point guard lineups? Has the arrival of Andrea Bargnani spawned a conditioner renaissance within the Bocker locker room? Will Metta World Peace run for President?

In our first installment, we tackle who should be our starting five, as well as what unit should be the one to bring us down the home stretch.

Kevin McElroy: Assuming no material age- or injury-related regression, the team’s best 5 is going to be the same as it was at the end of last year: Felton, Prigs, Shumpert, Melo, Chandler. When JR is hot or we need points in bunches, swap him into the crunch time lineup for Prigs or Shumpert (depending on matchups). The burden of proof is on Amare to demonstrate the inaccuracy of this claim. I’d be thrilled to see him do it.

Brian Cronin: I can’t deny the efficacy of a Felton/Prigioni starting backcourt, but I am tired of guards on the other team just being able to get to the middle at will, so I would go with Shump at the starting two and have Prigioni come off of the bench. I would then start World Peace with Melo at the forward spots, with World Peace guarding whichever is the tougher of the two forwards on the opposing team. It is important to protect Melo from too much banging in the post. Let World Peace do that. That is a legitimately great starting lineup on defense. My lineup is dependent on Shumpert being an offensive threat, though (or else you really can’t play World Peace and Chandler together) but I am confident that he can be one next season.

Mike Kurylo: I agree with Cronin, but for different reasons. Don’t start the game off with Felton/Prigioni. Have the announcer call out the more conventional lineup of Felton-Shumpert-World Peace-Anthony-Chandler. That gives the Knicks three great defenders to put pressure on the other team’s starters to score. Put TPFKARA on the tougher threat at forward to give ‘Melo a rest at one end of the floor, and frustrate the opponent from the opening tip-off. With J.R. Smith hurt, that gives you either Prigioni and/or Amar’e Stoudemire to help jumpstart the offense when it drags. Down the stretch, go with the matchups. If Shumpert and/or Artest can shut-down one of the other team’s main threats, have them in. Otherwise go with Prigioni if he’s helping the ball find the open guy, or you need to spread the floor.

Cronin: I dunno, are those reasons really different than mine, Mike? ;) I forgot to name my “down the stretch” lineup. I’d go with Felton/Smith/Shump/Melo/Chandler with World Peace possibly switching offense/defense with Smith.

Max Fisher-Cohen: Last season, ESPN’s group of 100 analysts combined to project the Knicks to win 45 games. That’s nine game difference for all of you who don’t have a calculator on hand. The Knicks then must have done something pretty smart to have left all those analysts looking like fools with their pants on the ground. What did they change? They bumped Carmelo to power forward and when healthy, did their best to keep two point guards — or at least two players with many qualities of the modern point guard — on the floor at once.

The extra ball handling and passing that the Knicks put on the floor allowed them to severely cut down on turnovers and gave the Knicks more diverse options in punishing double teams.

If the Knicks want to prove the experts wrong again, abandoning this strategic adaptation would not be wise. For that reason, my starters are the group that best matches last season’s best lineups: Prigioni, Felton, Shumpert, Anthony, Chandler.

My closers are Prigioni, Smith, Shumpert, Anthony, Chandler. After all, by the end of the season the Knicks had mostly switched Felton over to the JR Smith role of spotting up and attacking from the weak side. These are areas in which Smith is far more talented, so let’s have Felton eat a bag of celebratory Funyons as the Knicks finish off their opponents.

David Vertsberger: Starting five, as previously mentioned, oughta be Felton-Prigs-Shump-Melo-Chandler. All for swapping out Felton for Udrih or Metta for Prigs down the stretch, but considering we’ve yet to see how either newcomers play this season it’s hard to take a measured guess. I’m a fan of two-PG lineups, especially with how well they’ve managed last season, but I wouldn’t normally push for them to be played for the majority of the game. This season I’d like to see how World Peace fares alongside Shump, Ray, Melo and Tyson, and then I can come up with a more complete analysis. In fact, all of my opinions on this team will probably fluctuate as the season progresses and we discover just how much Udrih, MWP, Bargs, THJ and Tyler can bring to the team.

Jonathan Topaz: Like the rest of the panel, I’d go with Felton-Prigioni-Shumpert-Melo-Chandler, for the offensive advantages of the Knicks playing small-ball. The Knicks made plenty of depth moves this summer, but none that should dictate an immediate change in the starting lineup.

Just as an aside, this lineup played a total of 39 regular season minutes last year.

But Max and David, out of curiosity, why so little love for Felton? Our slightly-heavier-than-we’re-comfortable-with point guard (Knicks … They’re just like us!) put up a PER north of 15 last season, posted the lowest turnover rate of his career despite having the highest usage rate of his career, and shot 36% from 3. The Knicks had an offensive rating of 114 with Felton on the court and at 107.4 with him off the court. Felton has a fantastic first step off the dribble, is a very good finisher around the rim, creates space for shooters, and is a wonderful pick-and-roll partner for Chandler. I’m all aboard the Prigioni train, but can’t we see him play more than 16 minutes a game before we insert him in crunch time minutes over Felton?

As for the lineup down the stretch, that will (and should) depend on matchups. The point of getting at least nominal depth is to have the flexibility to sit or play an often-streaky JR Smith accordingly, to insert MWP against lineups with bruising 3s and 4s, etc. But in general, the crunch-time lineup should be Felton-Smith-Shumpert-Melo-Chandler, a lineup that offers perimeter shooting, shot creation, strong wing and inside defense, and Melo at the 4.

Fisher-Cohen: Jonathan, Like Kidd last year, Pablo is an excellent double teamer, can guard twos, and is extremely generous with the ball, making him an excellent complement to the offense heavy tandem of Smith and Anthony, so for me, it was more about the choice between Felton and Smith than Felton and Prigioni. Thanks to his more aggressive offensive style, Felton fits better in more offensively challenged lineups.

Robert Silverman: I too would go with the Felton-Prigioni-Shumpert-Melo-Chandler quintet. Down the stretch, I think we can safely assume that Woodson will be going with JR Smith, once he returns from his injuries/suspension. Also, Felton closed pretty much every game that was reasonably close, as did Chandler and Anthony. It seems to me that regardless of the bounty of flexibility that Grünwald has assembled, there’s really only one spot on the floor that’s up for grabs, and given Woodson’s predilection for “traditional” lineups — if you’ll recall, the two-PG backcourt was a nice actualization of  the whole  “necessity is the mother of invention” thing — the only question seems to be whether it’ll be Shumpert or World Peace.

So as much as I (and others) may pine for Prigioni’s finishing kick, I think it’s not going to be a common occurrence.

56 comments on “2014 Preseason Roundtable: What should be our starting five? What about down the stretch?

  1. iserp

    I am surprised nobody chose the more natural Felton / Shumpert / Melo / Bargnani / Chandler and most of you went for a small ball lineup.

    I want to make 3 points in favor of Bargnani in the lineup instead of smallball.

    – We have a shakey guard rotation. JR is injured, and Shumpert is not a proficient ballhandler. Starting 2 of them limit our options along the game, and if one of or PGs is injured, we might say goodbye to the whole 2 PG lineup.

    – Ron Artest is on the decline. He is becoming slow, and is more fitted to defend 4s than 3s, while providing next to nothing on offense. Melo will hardly will be defended by the opponents PF if Artest is on the court.

    – OTOH, i think the real value of having Melo at the 4, is that it solved the spacing problems we had with our frontcourt. With Bargnani, those spacing problems will go away. He might not have that great percentages, but can’t be left alone in the perimeter… and there are not many teams with enough size to defend both Bargnani and Chandler (and Melo).

  2. d-mar

    Agree with Jonathan’s comment above, I don’t get the lack of love for Felton. He was the best player on either team in the Boston playoff series last year, he rarely makes a bad pass and actually gets to the basket (unlike a certain Argentinian).

    Not saying he’s a top 10 point guard (mostly because of his erratic shooting), but I still think he’s a net positive when he’s in the game.

  3. Nick C.

    Until JR comes back he Knicks are thin at the two with only THJ. I would lean towards Felton, Shumpert, Melo, Artest, Chandler. I can see starting Bargnani, if only to get him out of the way, though for the life of I don’t see why a guy that misses a lot needs to be guarded but that seems to be the consensus so I defer. Finishing games should be Felton or Prigs, JR (insert Shumpert for defense if thats how it rolls) Melo (the only always) Amare and Chandler. I can see Amare as C if Tyson is doing his sleepwalker impersonation or is hurt. I guess that means I have no clue there will be a lot of mix and match.

  4. Mike Kurylo

    @1 Interesting take. Sure by height standards our lineup would be small ball, but by playing standards, yours would be more small ball. As you said Metta is better suited to guard 4s and Bargnani’s poor rebounding would make the Knicks “weaker” on the inside. Where Andrea would make the Knicks stronger is shooting on the perimeter, which aligns more with the small ball principle.

    I think as long as the Knicks keep MWP on the perimeter jacking up threes, he’ll spread the defense enough to keep them honest on Melo. And I think Anthony is better using his quickness on bigger guys than his strength on smaller ones.

  5. DRed

    Mike Kurylo:
    That and his TS% is barely over 50%. Look at his shooting chart from last year:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/f/feltora01/shooting/2013/

    He’s good at the rim and from three. But AWFUL in-between (sub 40% FG% in each area between 3 & 21 feet).

    Here’s what I’d do with Ray, tell him he’s allowed one non-3 point jump shot per game. Take one, and you’re not allowed anymore until next game. Problem solved. /coaching

    Missing all those midrange shots creates floor spacing and offensive rebounding opportunities and results in a synergistic shift of our offensive paradigm. Do you even watch teh games?

  6. Mike Kurylo

    DRed: Missing all those midrange shots creates floor spacing and offensive rebounding opportunities and results in a synergistic shift of our offensive paradigm. Do you even watch teh games?

    Nope. That’s the worst way to gauge what’s happening on the basketball court. I just feel the aura coming from the player. If they’re savvy and have guts, then I know they’re helping the team, no matter how many shots they miss.

  7. flossy

    Mike Kurylo:
    That and his TS% is barely over 50%. Look at his shooting chart from last year:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/f/feltora01/shooting/2013/

    He’s good at the rim and from three. But AWFUL in-between (sub 40% FG% in each area between 3 & 21 feet).

    Here’s what I’d do with Ray, tell him he’s allowed one non-3 point jump shot per game. Take one, and you’re not allowed anymore until next game. Problem solved. /coaching

    Serious question, what is Felton supposed to do when teams pretty much just double-cover Chandler as he rolls to the rim and give Felton 16′ jump shots with nary a defender in sight? Just stand there and hold the ball until the shot clock runs out? Call Chandler back out to reset so the same thing can happen again? Pass the ball to (gasp) Carmelo Anthony for what will probably be an ISO ending in a more heavily-contested shot?

  8. Mike Kurylo

    flossy: Serious question, what is Felton supposed to do when teams pretty much just double-cover Chandler as he rolls to the rim and give Felton 16? jump shots with nary a defender in sight? Just stand there and hold the ball until the shot clock runs out? Call Chandler back out to reset so the same thing can happen again? Pass the ball to (gasp) Carmelo Anthony for what will probably be an ISO ending in a more heavily-contested shot?

    Make the uncontested jumper?

  9. flossy

    Ideal starting line-up (when healthy):

    Felton/Shumpert/Melo/Amar’e/Chandler

    Poor man’s version of the above given realistic health expectations:

    Felton/Shumpert/Melo/Bargnani/Chandler

    All-defense (and Melo) starting five:

    Prigioni (or Felton, I guess)/Shumpert/Melo/Artest/Chandler

    Small-ball starting five:

    Felton/Prigs/Shumpert/Melo/Chandler

    If we can’t have the ideal starting five, I’d almost prefer the Bargs alternative (to keep him and Amar’e separated) or all-defense lineup.

    I think 2 PGs, Shumpert at the 3 and Melo at the 4 means that 3/5 of our starters are playing out of position, Shumpert’s best abilities are pretty much wasted, and we are at a severe size/rebounding disadvantage. The success of our small line-ups last year was pretty heavily dependent on our ability to hit the most 3 point FGs of all time, which is something we are unlikely to replicate this season.

  10. Frank

    DRed: Missing all those midrange shots creates floor spacing and offensive rebounding opportunities and results in a synergistic shift of our offensive paradigm.Do you even watch teh games?

    Mike Kurylo: Nope. That’s the worst way to gauge what’s happening on the basketball court. I just feel the aura coming from the player. If they’re savvy and have guts, then I know they’re helping the team, no matter how many shots they miss.

    glad to see the snark is in midseason form.

    flossy: The success of our small line-ups last year was pretty heavily dependent on our ability to hit the most 3 point FGs of all time, which is something we are unlikely to replicate this season.

    I’m not sure why you think this. It’s not like we shot 45% as a team last year and that’s why we made so many. We made a lot because we took a lot. And, as THCJ will tell you, taking shots is just about the desire to take shots. And although we’ve lost Cope and Novak, we’ll have plenty of good 3 point shooters this year.

    Meanwhile, kinda wondering how our triple PNR will work with Melo/Bargs/Chandler. That would be a handful for any defense.

  11. iserp

    @Mike

    yes, you are right, on the defensive side, we might be “smaller” with Bargnani than with Artest, but i am quite skeptic of Ron Artest at his age. And i’d like to see Bargnani next to a center that excels at help defense, he might not look that bad.

  12. thenamestsam

    Obviously the starting 5 is going to evolve as the season goes along based on health and performance but in terms of the first thing I’d look at if I were Woodson I’m going to agree with the Felton-Shump-Melo-Bargs-Tyson group.

    My reasoning is that when I look at this Knicks roster I see Bargnani (along with Shump, I consider the chances of Amare being healthy enough to be that guy vanishingly small) as the player most capable of making a big positive contribution this year beyond what’s expected. We all know his production has basically sucked for his whole career, but we also all (or almost all) can agree that he’s extremely talented. Coaxing the best possible version out of Bargnani (basically a super-Novak who nearly replicates his proficiency from 3 while also being capable of being involved more in the flow of the offense via pick and pops, drives to the hoop and improves on Novak on D and on the glass) is the single biggest step this team can take towards being a real contender in my opinion.

    So my top prioroity would be getting that production out of Bargnani. That starting lineup allows him to be a tertiary option on offense (after PnR with Tyson and Melo) protects him on the D and glass with Chandler and Shump, and gives him the best possible PnP partner in Felton. Basically that’s my lineup to see whether it is in fact possible to make Bargnani a real contributor. If it isn’t then move on and make him the fringe players his career numbers suggest he should be. But first I’d put him in the best possible situation to try to become the player his talent has always suggested he could be.

  13. Mike Kurylo

    flossy: flossy
    September 24, 2013 at 9:49 am (Edit)

    Mike Kurylo: Make the uncontested jumper?

    And once he’s met his 1 per game quota?

    OK fine, he can take until he misses one.

    That kind of reward system works great with my kids.

  14. er

    thenamestsam:
    Obviously the starting 5 is going to evolve as the season goes along based on health and performance but in terms of the first thing I’d look at if I were Woodson I’m going to agree with the Felton-Shump-Melo-Bargs-Tyson group.

    My reasoning is that when I look at this Knicks roster I see Bargnani (along with Shump, I consider the chances of Amare being healthy enough to be that guy vanishingly small) as the player most capable of making a big positive contribution this year beyond what’s expected. We all know his production has basically sucked for his whole career, but we also all (or almost all) can agree that he’s extremely talented. Coaxing the best possible version out of Bargnani (basically a super-Novak who nearly replicates his proficiency from 3 while also being capable of being involved more in the flow of the offense via pick and pops, drives to the hoop and improves on Novak on D and on the glass) is the single biggest step this team can take towards being a real contender in my opinion.

    So my top prioroity would be getting that production out of Bargnani. That starting lineup allows him to be a tertiary option on offense (after PnR with Tyson and Melo) protects him on the D and glass with Chandler and Shump, and gives him the best possible PnP partner in Felton. Basically that’s my lineup to see whether it is in fact possible to make Bargnani a real contributor. If it isn’t then move on and make him the fringe players his career numbers suggest he should be. But first I’d put him in the best possible situation to try to become the player his talent has always suggested he could be.

    I agree with Bargs. To me it makes the bench more cohesive. If you have Amare, Barg, Kmart all on the bench it becomes a bit of a logjam. Also Bargs and melo seem to make sense as a combo

  15. mokers

    I think you really couldn’t take Felton out of a lot of lineups last year when he was having a bad game shooting midrange. You can live with midrange jumpers, but not with 16 seconds on the shot clock. Kidd couldn’t do PnR and they had trouble getting Pablo taking wide open threes. A lot of the other ball handlers in PnR possibilities weren’t the best decision makers (Smith, Shumpert). Hopefully by adding Udrih, you still have a good PnR decision maker and ball handler. He also has an excellent midrange game. Theoretically, he can be used in situations where the defense is opening up the midrange on PnR and Felton isn’t hitting.

  16. SeeWhyDee77

    My hands down favorite lineup, and a very nice tone setter I might add, would be a starting 5 of Tyson-Melo-MWP-Shump-Felton. Oh the possibilities! That lineup is so 90’s Knicks. But I would hafta shatter my own dream and go with a more practical lineup of Tyson-Bargnani-Melo-Shump-Felton. I think this lineup allows everyone to do what they do best. It leaves room for Melo to operate inside and out. Leaves room for a PnR with Tyson. Allows Shump to play to his strengths as a guard and leaves us with a size advantage in the paint. Then it leaves STAT to play 20 mpg a night against mainly backups at the 5 with Kmart and MWP backing him defensively. And initially we will have an efficient backcourt of Udrih and Prigioni out there keeping the offense flowing. As far as STAT’s production goes..with that lineup he should be able to get 17 and 7 as long as Woodson can manage the matchups. And of course if STAT, Kmart and Bargnani can stay healthy. Whe JR comes back its gonna be a glut at the guard position considering our best lineups usually are any of our 2 PG lineups. I don’t envy Woodson at all because managing minutes may prove to be a headache with this roster. But on the other hand having a lot of options is also a good thing to have as long as the egos stay in check. Guys like JR, Kmart and MWP are most likely gonna have to get used to roughly 20 minutes a night maybe 25 in MWP’s case.

  17. lavor postell

    I don’t agree that the two pg lineup is why we were so effective at taking care of the ball last season. The Knicks have shown a definite preference for acquiring guys with low turnover rates, even if their scoring efficiency isn’t necessarily great or if they lack the ability to create for themselves. Players like Melo, Bargs, Novak, Kidd, JR, Artest, Felton, etc. all have demonstrated this in one way or another, but the one common factor between all of them has been their low turnover rates. I think it was also a major factor in them not re-signing Lin, a decision that obviously still is up for debate. Whether they are right or wrong, the Knicks seem to value the team’s overall ability to get shots up regardless of efficiency, definitely a factor in moving Bargs for Novak.

    Where the two PG lineups did help us was in encouraging more ball movement and less bogging down into an ISO heavy offense that depended on Melo and/or JR catching fire in order to be successful. With this roster though, I doubt we settle on a starting lineup and we might rather just play the match up game considering the amount of positional versatility many of the current Knicks provide us. I like us starting Felton-Prigioni-Shump/Artest-Melo-Chandler against teams like Miami, Golden State, OKC where size isn’t as much of a key.

    Against the Chicagos and Indianas of the world I’d still go small, but at the forward positions. Felton-Shump-Melo-Artest-Chandler might be the look to go with where we still can space the floor decently enough for Melo offensively and allow Artest to at least split defensive duties at the 4 with Melo so that David West can’t make it his life goal to hurt our resident franchise player.

  18. SeeWhyDee77

    Yea I like the small lineups too..but Melo got banged up last year goin up against bigger more physical players. He probably should have gotten surgery on his shoulder but he chose to rest, and my fear is given those circumstances, he could be more susceptible to re-injuring said shoulder if he’s pitted against bigger guys again. I do believe we need to protect Melo at all costs becuz he’s one of only few players in the league teams really have no answer for. We are gonna need him to resemble the early 12-13 season Melo for as long as possible.

  19. apanebianco

    I am very excited for the knicks season to start. I have been waiting ever since there season ended. I think they should continue with their original starting five. Can’t wait to see all the new knicks players in their new jerseys. This will be their best season.

  20. KnickfaninNJ

    I think we are likely to use the same starting lineup of Felton, Prigioni, Shumpert, Melo, Chandler, and I wont be unhappy if we do. But I think Bargnani could challenge Shumpert for the small forward spot. If he does, we could get a starting lineup of Felton, Prigioni, Bargnani, Melo and Chandler. Offensively, it should work very well. Defensively, might be worse, but I don’t think you can rule it out. It depends on how well Bargnani does in training camp.

    By the way, not every prominent basketball commentator thinks the Knicks are worse off this year. To roughly quote Jalen Rose

    Q: Are the Nets better than the Knicks this year:
    A: “On paper”

    Q: Melo says the Knicks are a better team this year, is he right?
    A: “Yes, Bargnani is an underrated player.”

  21. knicksfan1

    All I know is that if I had to do a starting 5 for authors it would be:

    Jonathan Topaz
    Shakespeare
    F Scott Fitzgerald
    Charles Dickens
    Ernest Hemingway

    That is all

  22. Robert Silverman

    knicksfan1:
    All I know is that if I had to do a starting 5 for authors it would be:

    Jonathan Topaz
    Shakespeare
    F Scott Fitzgerald
    Charles Dickens
    Ernest Hemingway

    That is all

    I think you’re really overrating Hemingway. Advance Author Metrics say David Foster Wallace, George Saunders and Haruki Murakami all rank above ol’ Ernie.

    Though Wallace does lose points for being such a volume writer.

  23. lavor postell

    KnickfaninNJ:
    I think we are likely to use the same starting lineup of Felton, Prigioni, Shumpert, Melo, Chandler, and I wont be unhappy if we do.But I think Bargnani could challenge Shumpert for the small forward spot. If he does, we could get a starting lineup of Felton, Prigioni, Bargnani, Melo and Chandler.Offensively, it should work very well.Defensively, might be worse, but I don’t think you can rule it out.It depends on how well Bargnani does in training camp.

    By the way, not every prominent basketball commentator thinks the Knicks are worse off this year.To roughly quote Jalen Rose

    Q:Are the Nets better than the Knicks this year:
    A: “On paper”

    Q: Melo says the Knicks are a better team this year, is he right?
    A: “Yes, Bargnani is an underrated player.”

    Our bench lineup I assume would then be Udrih-Shump-Metta-STAT-KMart? This would be fine if Bargnani can be productive and if we don’t absolutely get lit up defensively, which is a definite possibility. I’d rather space out our defensive and offensive stalwarts to give our lineups better balance, but I see your logic.

    Our biggest problem will be figuring out the guard/small forward rotation when JR gets back and making sure minutes are distributed properly. I’ll take the problem of having an abundance of depth over trotting out the early bird squad past their expiration date. Really hoping we can get relatively good health from everybody but Bargs and STAT, both of who I assume will miss some significant chunks of time.

  24. Hubert

    flossy:
    Ideal starting line-up (when healthy):

    Felton/Shumpert/Melo/Amar’e/Chandler

    I’m surprised you were the first (and perhaps only, I haven’t finished reading) person to mention Amar’e. I agree with you.

    Maximizing Amar’e this year is key and I think a lineup with him healthy and playing with the kind of high percentage dominant low post game he had last year is going to be a great boost for us. Being able to play him next to Chandler at PF (instead of next to Novak at C) should limit his defensive inability.

    I see him as an 18-20 minute starter who can carry the offense for stretches before giving way to Artest and running the two-PG lineup when Amar’e isn’t in.

    It is different from what we had last year, but I think it will be better.

  25. Hubert

    flossy:

    I think 2 PGs, Shumpert at the 3 and Melo at the 4 means that 3/5 of our starters are playing out of position, Shumpert’s best abilities are pretty much wasted, and we are at a severe size/rebounding disadvantage.

    Another point I agree with. Shumpert should be locking down opposing 1’s and 2’s, not spending all season banging guys 3-4 inches taller than him.

  26. Mike Kurylo

    KnickfaninNJ: By the way, not every prominent basketball commentator thinks the Knicks are worse off this year. To roughly quote Jalen Rose

    Jalen Rose? “Honey which bank is our life savings in — I’ve got a hot tip from an insider?”

  27. Mike Kurylo

    Hubert: I’m surprised you were the first (and perhaps only, I haven’t finished reading) person to mention Amar’e. I agree with you.

    You could make the starting PF either Amar’e/Barngani based on which ever one is healthy enough to suit up, but then what do you do those other 30 games?

  28. yellowboy90

    I’m interested in what MWP could possibly do offensively being guarded by 4s. Looking at some of his numbers last year leads me to think he would do better as a 4 in NY.

  29. thenamestsam

    Knicks have signed Cole Aldrich apparently. Very good move in my opinion. There is a very real chance given the health limitations of every single one of the Chandler/KMart/Bargs/Amare group that the Knicks are going to need some real minutes from someone outside that group. But at the same time the level of guy they can get for that role is severely restricted by the fact that they can’t promise that player any minutes at all. I think given that constraint Aldrich is about as good as you could hope to do. His per minute numbers are pretty darn good for the kind of guy who is available for the league minimum and no promise of playing time. I don’t think he’ll kill us if we need to play him 15 minutes a night for a week or two. As usual Grunwald is doing a good job shopping at the minimum.

  30. KnickfaninNJ

    Mike Kurylo: Jalen Rose? “Honey which bank is our life savings in — I’ve got a hot tip from an insider?”

    Well, my only comment of him in my post was that he is prominent, which I think is true. That is not that say he’s got a great prediction track record (especially since he doesn’t seem to make many predictions) and he doesn’t ever talk about stats. But he’s an ex-player, unlike many commentators, and that is a different perspective, which is nice. And it’s always nice to hear Knick optimism from the press, even if it’s just LA fans preferring Melo to Lebron (as was posted here before)

    His pick for the most likely impact player in this year’s draft was Oladippo. I am very curious if he’s anywhere close to correct about this.

  31. chrisk06811

    I think the lineup missing is what 5 would you want to party with. I’m thinking JR – Prigs – K Mart – MWP – Shump.

    I have JR and MWP in there for obvious reasons, Prigs for the knowledge, K Mart incase someone starts trouble, and Shump because I want to touch his hair.

  32. johnlocke

    Assuming a healthy roster, you can’t have Amare, Bargnani and JR coming off the bench — too much offense being left on the bench. I would go with Felton, Shump, Melo, Bargnani and Chandler. That is the most balanced starting line up for the Knicks. JR can come in for Shump, Amare can come in for Bargnani, Melo’s back up is MWP. You have Prigs off the bench and Beno as well if Prigs / Felton are having an off game. And you have Kenyon backing up Chandler. That’s the core / subbing pattern Woody should go with.

  33. flossy

    I’ve been on the Cole Aldrich-for-the-minimum bandwagon for a while now. I think the signing is non-guaranteed, but he’s someone I could see making the team and making himself useful. Hasn’t got much burn in the league, but his (small sample) numbers show promise. Certainly, I prefer someone young and with a bit of potential like Aldrich to a retread like Earl Barron who has had years to prove that he just isn’t good at basketball.

  34. BigBlueAL

    Its going to be fascinating (or frustrating) to see what lineups Woodson uses this season. I honestly dont have a clue.

    We all thought he was an old-school type coach since he constantly preaches defense yet he played mostly small ball lineups and coached a team that was excellent on offense but below average on D. Yet in the playoffs vs Indiana when the going got tough he reverted back to a more conventional lineup (Game 4) but when that backfired he went back to small ball lineups in Games 5 and 6.

  35. JK47

    Big thumbs up for the Cole Aldrich signing. He has the size and physicality to be a really good defensive center, and he’s not chopped liver on the offensive end either. Yes, he’s a foul machine, but that really seems to me like something that can be fixed (or at least improved) with good coaching. You have to like this move. He fits in well with the Knicks’ needs and definitely has upside.

  36. mokers

    Like the Aldrich signing, but it is probably non-guaranteed just to get him into camp. Still, he is my favorite for that backup 5 spot of the people available out there. Still young, seems to be able to rebound and defend. The Knicks have to find time to give extra rest (and days off) to Chandler, K-Mart, Amar’e, Bargs, so that spot has the potential to play some useful minutes.

  37. Z-man

    Aldrich is basically poor man’s Mozgov.

    Great thread. I’ll rather defer on the starting lineups until I see at least some preseason action to get a better handle on Bargnani, MWP and Shump. But if I had to guess right now, I’d go with Felton, Shump, Bargnani, Melo and Chandler. I think Bargnani will get the chance to prove that he shouldn’t be starting (I know, I know, he’s proven that for the last 7 years, yada-yada-yada.)

    A better question is: who is gonna be out of the rotation?

  38. neptunez

    I think alot of ppl are underrating Udrih and Bagnarni’s role on the team…

    I definitely see Bargs finishing off games at the 5 when we need points…

    Closing lineup would be Udrih, JR, Shump, Melo, Bargs

    No need for tyson to finish off games due to his lack off offense unless we need defense…

    I think this year our offense will be much more fluid than it was than last season with better spacing due to the extra shooters we have on our roster in Udrih, Bargarni and Hardaway Jr… these guys are not one dimensional players like novak was either so they can play long mins…

  39. ruruland

    DRed: Missing all those midrange shots creates floor spacing and offensive rebounding opportunities and results in a synergistic shift of our offensive paradigm.Do you even watch teh games?

    He cut down quite a bit on his mid-range shots after he returned from injury and Shumpert/Prigs/Cope became bigger parts of the offense (and Kidd’s role and minutes were reduced)….

    The reduction in those mid-range shots boosted Felton’s TS above .550, which was a number some of us projected he’d have in a 4-out, high pnr heavy offense before the season, also citing the possibility of reduced usage with two number one options sharing the floor.

    Felton’s typically been a primary or secondary shot creator on his team. Felton’s shot discretion, like all players, is partially attributable to environment and teammates.

    Dred’s attempt at satire falls short again.

    Berri opponents don’t mention Felton’s space-creating mid-range jumpers as part of his hidden efficiency, but do cite his missed layups to the strong-side of the basket ( uncontested roll-man tip-backs)

    Kobe assists are real, and Felton gets a ton of them. He makes the offense go.

    In a situation where he doesn’t have to take jump shots off the dribble, his efficiency numbers are good.

  40. ruruland

    iserp:
    @Mike

    yes, you are right, on the defensive side, we might be “smaller” with Bargnani than with Artest, but i am quite skeptic of Ron Artest at his age. And i’d like to see Bargnani next to a center that excels at help defense, he might not look that bad.

    More skeptical than you were with Kidd?

    Artest works just as hard if not harder, brings quite a bit more to the half-court offense, probably doesn’t rotate like Kidd does but is surely a significant upgrade as a versatile on-the-ball defender.

    Fits in really well with a switching defense. Makes a lot of non-box score stats, which is why he consistently has an elite +/- rating to go along with his below average WS/WP48

    if loose balls gained/non-steal turnovers helped created/defensive stops were advanced metrics, I’d imagine in MWP’s case they’d at least make up for his average rebound numbers.

  41. Brian Cronin

    I think Bargs is destined to be a 5 here. Could he theoretically be a sort of hybrid 3? Sure, but I don’t think they’re even considering him for such a role. I think he’s either a 4 or a 5, and I think a 5 is more likely. In effect, he’s taking Cope’s spot in the rotation, which is as the 5 who can pull other 5s away from the basket.

  42. iserp

    ruruland: More skeptical than you were with Kidd?

    Artest works just as hard if not harder, brings quite a bit more to the half-court offense, probably doesn’t rotate like Kidd does but is surely a significant upgrade as a versatile on-the-ball defender.

    Fits in really well with a switching defense. Makes a lot of non-box score stats, which is why he consistently has an elite +/- rating to go along with his below average WS/WP48

    if loose balls gained/non-steal turnovers helped created/defensive stops were advanced metrics, I’d imagine in MWP’s case they’d at least make up for his average rebound numbers.

    Yep, i was skeptical with Kidd and the season proved me half-wrong half-right, haha.

    You are right with the switching thing… but i fear he’s becoming too slow for that. I may be wrong, though.

  43. Z-man

    At some point in some games (not at the start) we will probably see a frontcourt lineup of Bargnani, Melo and MWP up front. Obviously not a great rebounding lineup but with, say, JR and Udrih in the backcourt, they should score a ton of points. Or with Shump and and Prigs/Felton, be good on the defensive perimeter.

  44. Z-man

    That’s one great thing thing about a great iso player like Melo, he can carry a mostly defensive lineup offensively when he has to. His D is good enough not to hurt the overall defense.

  45. Hubert

    Mike Kurylo: You could make the starting PF either Amar’e/Barngani based on which ever one is healthy enough to suit up, but then what do you do those other 30 games?

    It’s an interesting question. You’re basically saying if you can reasonably expect someone to miss a fair amount of time, don’t make him a critical piece of the starting lineup to begin with.

    I understand that, but I don’t agree.

    I want the guy healthy in the playoffs, and by the time the playoffs come I want him to have as many minutes as possible playing in the best position to help us succeed, which I think is in the starting lineup.

    If that means we have to struggle to adjust for 30+ regular season games when neither he nor AB are available, I’m ok with that.

  46. Hubert

    On Aldrich, I just hope he helps limit Chandler’s minutes.

    I think Tyson took a lot of grief from people who really underestimated the extent of his injury. A herniated disc is not something a normal human being would play basketball with. I’ve never seen Tyson get so manhandled by a center before. In fact I was more accustomed to seeing him make Hibbert his bitch (remember that game v Indiana when Roy made the all star game over him?).

    Anyway, I just think he was worn down and injured. He hasn’t made a positive postseason contribution for us yet (had the flu vs Miami in 2011, too). Just keep his minutes down during the regular season so he can be the T1000 model of himself in May.

    Sadly, even with Aldrich, Martin, and Tyler, I don’t anticipate Woodson taking this sort of long view.

  47. Hubert

    Anyway, to start the season I’d go with:

    F Amar’e
    F Melo
    C Chandler
    G Felton
    G Shumpert

    6. JR
    7. MWP
    8. Prigioni
    9. Martin
    10. AB

    Amar’e starts but doesn’t get starters minutes.

    And I wouldn’t use AB to replace him, I’d rotate Artest in when it’s time to take Amar’e out, which lets us continue to play Melo at the 4 for stretches.

    AB would be my 10th man to begin with, essentially replacing Copeland/Novak’s role. Let’s ease the guy in and only let him worry about hitting wide open jumpers.

    JR keeps being JR.

    Martin keeps Chandler fresh by playing 18-20 minutes, and when Martin goes down Aldrich does the same.

    I expect the closing lineup to be Melo, Chandler, JR, either Felton or Prigioni, and either Shump or MWP.

  48. Frank

    Z-man:
    At some point in some games (not at the start) we will probably see a frontcourt lineup of Bargnani, Melo and MWP up front. Obviously not a great rebounding lineup but with, say, JR and Udrih in the backcourt, they should score a ton of points. Or with Shump and and Prigs/Felton, be good on the defensive perimeter.

    Agreed — I actually think we will see this lineup a lot against Indiana, whose whole defense is predicated on funneling players to Hibbert. Yes, we’ll probably get killed on the offensive boards some, but Bargnani will hold his own against Hibbert in the post since he’s actually a very good post defender – it’s not like he’ll get killed like Cope would have. And it’s not like Indy is an offensive powerhouse that will blow us out of the building whether or not Tyson is on the court or not.

    Would be interesting to see how Indy fares when they play Hibbert against a “stretch 5″. I think we saw that Cope was very effective when playing the 5 against Indy, and that having a 3 point threat at the 5 position really compromised Indy’s defense.

    The other issue is that if Hibbert has to do a bunch of closeouts on a 3 point shooter, really cover a pick-and-pop big, then run back to rebound, etc — that dude is going to get tired. He’s never been in particularly good shape, and BOTH their offense and defense basically fall apart without him on the floor (they are +7.3 points/100 poss on O with him and -2.9 on D without him).

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