ESPN New York beat writer Jared Zwerling is saying that the Knicks plan to fill out the roster with two bigs, two point guards, and a wing. Two PGs seems a bit excessive. I’d be a little surprised if that were the mix. I take a look at some available players who could fill the various roles. I’m not going to include much on the guys we already know (e.g., Kenyon Martin, Jerome Jordan, Chris Smith).
BACKUP PG OPTIONS
- Nate Robinson - It’s unlikely he signs for what NY can offer, but it’s not unthinkable. The Negatives: We know a lot about what he doesn’t bring to the table.* The Positives: Nate’s reputation as a gunner is exaggerated if not undeserved. (His career 15 FGA/36 isn’t out of sorts for combo guards.). He’s also been mostly a league average or better shooter. He’s a decent (not great) passer and has generally kept TOs to 2.5/36 or fewer. Overall: You never know. The Knicks could absolutely stand to build more redundancy into the PG position. Nate has an ideal skill set because he creates a great deal of flexibility. Woody could also stand to bring Felton’s minutes down closer to 30 MPG. It’s interesting that Nate’s name hasn’t really been linked to any other team.
*Please note that I’ll defend to the death my belief that Robinson’s reputation for immaturity was slanderously exaggerated by Mike Breen. Nate can be a bit of a clown, but he’s not Javaris Crittendon. He’s not Stephen Jackson. Hell, he’s not even Gilbert Arenas.
- Rodgrigue Beaubois - The Negatives: He declined almost across the board after a promising rookie season. The numbers suggest: stay away entirely or at best rent-don’t-buy. The Positives: His (high) assists have remained stable, despite declines almost everywhere else. That’s a pretty big deal for a PG. So, there’s that. Overall: The question is whether, after such a promising start, he can become anything more than an end of the bench player.
- D.J. Augustin - He’s a solid backup PG. For the money that’s out there at this point, I don’t see why he would’t re-sign with Indiana. Also, I have some concerns about whether he can defend in Woody’s switch-happy scheme.
- Chauncey Billups – Evidently, the Knicks are in pursuit (h/t P&T). We know what he brings to the table – high assists, low turnovers, still shoots the triple. Or, at least that’s what he brought to the table. Who knows what he has left?
SMALL FORWARD OPTIONS
Depending on how you feel about Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks either have one or no “true” small forwards. The Knicks can play any number of players at small forward for certain matchups, including Shumpert and Smith. Still, Woody could use a traditional small forward. To be honest, few of the options look all that appetizing.
Anthony Morrow - He began his career as a Novakian shooter but he’s come back to earth a bit the past few seasons.
- Lamar Odom - On a minimum deal, I’d like Lamar. A lot of what I wrote about Elton Brand rings true for Odom. He can’t shoot at all anymore, but does most everything else. NY could mix and match Odom at both forwards. The Lakers appear to be ready the amnesty Metta World Peace and are in the hunt for Odom.
- Luke Babbitt - He probably has the most upside on this list. Heading into only his age 24 season he’s already an accomplished 3pt. shooter and a presence on the defensive glass. He could fill the Novak role.
- Wesley Johnson - He could be a worthwhile change-of-scenery gamble, but it looks increasingly like he parlayed one fantastic season at Syracuse into a top 5 selection. I never saw much of him in college, so I don’t have a feel for whether he can play.
- Mickael Pietrus & Dahntay Jones – Both aging defensive specialists shoot juuuust enough to retain some value.
- Sam Young - Eww. Still, compared to Johnson at least Young can defend a bit.
- Raja Bell – The Knicks have worked him out. (See the Billups link.) No thanks. At this point, he’d just be stealing minutes from Shumpert.
- Metta World Peace – I initially didn’t include Metta because the Lakers had not officially amnestied him, but mostly because I just didn’t want to contemplate it. Well… The Negatives: What role does he play for the Knicks? Is he a starter at SF? Is he a reserve at both forwards? Is he insane? He’s also a worse rebounder than Bargnani. (I bet a lot of you didn’t know that.) The Positives: He’s still got some game left in the tank. I thought his 3pt. shooting had fallen off a cliff, but it looks more like he had an outlier crappy season in 2012. He’s mostly been a good perimeter shooter. His defense may not be what it once was, but his fouls/36 have remained pretty consistent. Overall: I thought I’d be much more firmly opposed to Metta, but the more I ponder this the more it seems like signing Shane Battier just with a bit more crazy.
(UPDATE: Anthony Morrow signed a two-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. Yeah, that still sounds odd.)