During the Knicks offseason, there has been a lot of conjecture on who will be in the starting lineup. Marbury’s continued presence makes him a threat to Chris Duhon at the shooting guard spot. Should Duhon have an awful preseason it’s possible that he could lose his job to Marbury or even Robinson. There have been questions surrounding the front court, with Lee, Randolph, Curry, and Jeffries being discussed as starting options. Due to the injuries to Curry and Jeffries, it appears that Lee and Randolph will be the starters. This has been strengthened by the pair’s strong play in the preseason.
Meanwhile it was just assumed that the small forward spot would be handed to Quentin Richardson. Although he was coming off a poor year, Quentin’s familiarity with D’Antoni’s offense made him the front runner to start. Two of Richardson’s competitors for the swingman spot were eliminated when Jeffries was injured and Balkman was traded. The only SFs left on the roster were Wilson Chandler and second round pick Patrick Ewing Jr. Chandler is just old enough to buy a beer legally, and Ewing is already on his third team before he’s played a single game.
However the stats show that Richardson isn’t the best candidate for the the position. Looking at Q-Rich’s career, it appears that his production has been erratic and diminishing over the last few years. His yearly PER has been 16.5, 17.4, 12.5, 15.1, 13.6, 9.6, 14.3, and 8.5. It seems that Quentin was a productive player in his first 4 years, but has been a poor player over the last 4 years. The big question mark concerning Richardson has always been his health, and it seems obvious that injuries have reduced him to a below average player.
Luckily for Knick fans, greenhorn Wilson Chandler may be ready. Three games isn’t much to go on, especially preseason ones, but so far Wilson Chandler is outplaying Richardson on a per-minute basis.
It’s uncertain what Chandler will do in his second season if given extended minutes. His rate stats weren’t bad in limited minutes last year, but his shooting percentages were low (48 TS%, 46% eFG). Unfortunately it’s pretty clear what Richardson will give the Knicks. As I said earlier three games isn’t much to judge a player. But given that Richardson is a veteran coming off 4 poor years, and is the only player on the Knicks familiar with D’Antoni’s offense, you’d expect better in preseason. At worst the rebuilding Knicks should give Chandler a majority of the minutes, and use the opportunity to gauge his development.
So far D’Antoni doesn’t seem to be afraid to make changes. He’s installed Duhon as the starting PG, and toyed around with Jared Jeffries at the 5 spot. Curry isn’t likely to regain his starting spot either. D’Antoni has spoken highly of Chandler, so it’s possible that he may make the switch. If he doesn’t then Chandler may get his chance eventually. During his tenure as a Knick, Richardson has missed an average of 26 games a year. Given New York’s low depth at SF, it’s likely that Chandler will be starting at some point this season.