After a quality win in Toronto the Knicks are going from the frigid north to the deep south to face the Charlotte Lincats for the second game in back-to-backs. Charlotte has struggled a bit in the early season, after losing Kidd-Gilchrist in the preseason, but a win tonight can still get them even at 4 wins and losses. It’s hard to call the ninth game of the season a “big game”, but Charlotte is one of those teams that the Knicks will likely be battling all season for one of the final playoff spots in the East, so a win would set a good precedence for the remainder of the season. Let’s take a look at a few key players on Charlotte, so we know what we’re up against:
If there’s one thing you can say about Big Al, it’s that he’s consistent. His whole career he’s been around 10 rebounds/36min, scored with around league average efficiency at above average usage, and rarely turns the ball over. The guy is steady, if unspectacular. He is a big body in the paint, so it’ll be interesting to see if Robin Lopez can keep him in check, but the Knicks should do everything they can to keep Porzingis from having to guard him, if only because it’d give me pained flashbacks of Gallinari guarding Tractor Traylor in his rookie summer league.
Kemba is having a pretty good start to the season, scoring well above his career efficiency (TS% 0.54 this season, 0.496 career). The jump in efficiency has mostly been due to an increased free throw rate, as Kemba has been attacking the paint much more so far this year. That’s likely bad news for Calderon, which is definitely a match-up worth watching.
Batum is leading the team in minutes and brings lots of 3pt shooting (0.45 3pt rate), great rebounding (11.2 TRB%, for a guard!) and solid passing (18.9 AST%). Again, the Knicks starting backcourt could have major problems keeping Batum in check.
Lamb is absolutely killing it in limited minutes to start the season. He is shooting 45% from 3 and 67% on 2pt FGs. The guy only has 3 FTA in 129 minutes this season, and his TS% is still ridiculously high! This shooting is completely unsustainable, but Charlotte really should be getting him more than 20 minutes per game until he cools off. Hey look, it’s yet another backcourt player for the Knicks to worry about!
The guy hasn’t really gotten many minutes to show off his skills. He’s only broken 10 minutes in 2 of 7 games so far, but maybe on the back end of consecutive nights played for Charlotte, we get to see him for some extended time.
I feel like I’m forgetting someone… Someone that adds to Charlotte’s solid backcourt and could be giving the Knicks fits all night. Hmmmmm… what was his name again?
image courtesy of NBA.com