With a Knicks team that has the same foundation as last year but a much deeper support team, Head Coach Mike Woodson is going to have a lot of fun creating certain lineups in certain situations with all that’s on the table. With Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Carmelo Anthony as their core and the additions Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Marcus Camby, Ronnie Brewer, Kurt Thomas, Pablo Prigioni and the re-signing of other role players, Woodson has plenty of options.
Now with the game on the line, I can see Woodson changing the lineup numerous times depending on the situation, because even though we have a solid roster, some of the players clearly are better on offense than defense and some contribute more on defense rather than offense.
Game on the Line Needing a Bucket
Raymond Felton – with Felton’s quickness, great changing of speeds and strength, he can get to the basket almost at will as long as he stays under control.
Jason Kidd – in these key situations you need a guy that will control the floor and make the sharp pass to Carmelo. Kidd also will help space the floor in these situations and could knock down a three if Carmelo gets in trouble and needs to kick it out.
J.R. Smith – JR always is able to create his own shot so if he has the ball needing a bucket, you will definitely see a shot attempt.
Carmelo Anthony – any time you need a basket, Carmelo is the guy to go to. He’s had a multitude of game winners and clutch shots for the Knicks in the past two seasons.
Amare Stoudemire – He is a type of player that will hit the knock down and will finish strong when we need a basket.
Why no Novak: Although Novak finished with the best 3 point percentage, if you put a guy on him, he won’t score. He can’t score off the dribble or off a screen, so I see JR more useful in this situation.
Game on the Line Needing a Three
Jason Kidd – he’s a career 35% 3 point shooter, and when open he can be deadly. In 07-08 on the Dallas Mavericks, Kidd shot 47% from beyond the line.
J.R. Smith – when Smith gets hot, he gets hot. His career 3pt % is around 37%.
Carmelo Anthony – as you’ve seen in the Olympics Carmelo could hit the three ball especially when he steps into the shot. In the Olympics, Carmelo went for 37 points on 10-12 shooting from the 3 point line against Nigeria. Although Carmelo’s scoring and 3pt % were down this year, he still managed to shoot 34% from the 3 point line.
Steve Novak – this is a no-brainer. Novak led the league in 3pt FG % this year, shooting 47%. If he is left open, you don’t need to even look if it goes in.
Amare Stoudemire – What I like about Amare in this lineup as oppose to another guard is no one expects him to be shooting the 3 yet under D’antoni he often was the go to in this situation. He would get a screen and curl up to the top of the 3 point line and knock it down.
Game on the Line Needing a Defensive Stop
Raymond Felton – Felton plays scrappy defense, diving on loose balls, getting steals (career 1.5), and can guard the quick point guards. he is a major upgrade from Jeremy Lin in this category.
Carmelo Anthony – I put Carmelo in this lineup based on that he plays the menacing defense that he did at the end of last season when he had to cover some big players. When he plays with tenacity and desire, Carmelo plays very solid defense
Ronnie Brewer – Brewer is a strong perimeter defender and is a great replacement for the injured Shumpert who usually fills this role.
Tyson Chandler – The reigning Defensive Player of the Year will make sure that no one is coming into the paint for a game winner – he will not allow an easy basket and make it very difficult.
Marcus Camby -former defensive player of the Year (06-07) is one of the best post and help defenders in the league still at the age of 38. He averages a career 2.4 blocks a game.
Game on the Line Needing to Knock Down Free Throws
This for the most part is based on the player’s free throw percentages. Now if I had to choose one player to put on the line it would be a toss-up between Carmelo and Novak. Even though Novak is Kyle Korver-esque from the free throw line, I still like Carmelo’s being great under pressure situations in the clutch.
Jason Kidd – 78% Career Free Throw Shooter
Raymond Felton – 81% Career Free throw shooter
Carmelo Anthony – 81% Career Free Throw Shooter
Steve Novak – 88% Career Free throw shooter
Amare Stoudemire – 76% Career Free throw shooter