After a busy offseason, the Knicks will have a few big decisions to make next season regarding the rotation and here at Buckets Over Broadway, we have made our predictions on what Mike Woodson is going to set out for opening night against the Milwaukee Bucks on the 30th of October, 2013.
Starting Point Guard: Raymond Felton
Mike Woodson has already said that Raymond Felton is pencilled in as the starting point guard for the upcoming season but when looking at the depth at the one for the Knicks it only seems plausible that Raymond Felton could start as Pablo Prigioni, even as a tenacious defender and outstanding passer, is too one dimensional and Beno Udrih cannot be the starting point guard on a contending team such as the Knicks. Raymond Felton has said that he has lost 15 pounds over the offseason and if that is true then he will probably be more agile when driving to the rim and with signs of his shot improving last season it seems that he could be in for a big year in New York.
Projected stats: 30 mpg, 14.7 ppg, 6.2 apg, 3.1 rpg, 48 FG %, and 38% from behind the arc
Starting Shooting Guard: Iman Shumpert
Coming off a torn ACL is never easy and it showed for the first two months of Shumperts return, but in the playoffs he almost single handedly got them to the Eastern Conference finals after a scoring outburst and some tenacious defense against the Indiana Pacers and I think that after his great showing, and his ability to run the floor as well, he will get the nod for coach Woodson and will be the starting two for opening night at the Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Projected stats: 23 mpg, 12.1 ppg, 4.1 apg, 2.7 rpg, 44 FG %, and 43% from behind the arc
Starting Small Forward: Metta World Peace
After being amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers, Metta World Peace said that he would pursue many different sports/activities if he did not join the Knicks (his hometown team), or a major contender. He got his wish as the Knicks picked him up and because of his lockdown defense and his ability to shoot the three ball, he should get the starting nod. Metta World Peace can defend any position from the one to the five and because of the great threes in the east such as LeBron James or Paul Pierce, the Knicks will need someone who can restrict them in terms of scoring and with his ability to shoot the three, he can stretch the floor and the spacing will be better.
Projected stats: 21 mpg, 10.3 ppg, 2.2 apg, 5.1 rpg, 41 FG %, 37% from behind the arc
Starting Power Forward: Carmelo Anthony
I don’t think this decision can be questioned. Carmelo Anthony is already pencilled in as the starter at the four by Mike Woodson but who in the NBA besides LeBron James or Kevin Durant can replace him? He is the reigning scoring champion and is an MVP candidate (not that anyone is taking it from LeBron). The Knicks will look for him to put up big numbers in big minutes and when given big minutes last season he did not disappoint.
Projected stats: 34 mpg, 28.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 49 FG %, 40% from behind the arc
Starting Center: Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler is the spearhead of the Knicks defense and joins Metta World Peace and Iman Shumpert as the Knicks defensive big three in our predicted starting unit. Chandler is limited quite a lot on offense and gets most of his points in the paint of off the pick and roll with Raymond Felton but he is one of the best players in the NBA on the defensive end of the game and he is the vocal captain of the Knicks starting unit. Coach Woodson has him pencilled him as the starter for the opener against Milwaukee and even during the season, don’t expect that to change as he will be fresh off rehab for a late season neck injury last year and will be raring to go.
Projected stats: 33 mpg, 11.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.1 apg 58 FG %
Sixth Man: JR Smith
When you are the reigning sixth man of the year there is a good chance that you will remain in that position for a while. JR Smith has always wanted to be a starting shooting guard on a NBA contender but with his sometimes lackadaisical play he is better suited to coming off the bench and providing some instant offense as he did for the majority of last season. JR Smith thrives in his role at sixth man and shall remain there for the rest of next season (barring injuries).
Projected stats: 24 mpg, 17.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 42 FG %
Backup Power Forward: Amar’e Stoudemire
Even with all the injuries Amar’e Stoudemire has still proved that he can contribute at a high level but with a new minutes restriction and not being able to play back to backs, it seems unlikely that Amar’e Stoudemire will ever return to the player we remember him as when he first came to New York. Amar’e Stoudemire is better set for a role off the bench as it allows Carmelo Anthony to flourish at the four in the starting lineup and it puts less strain on Amar’e if he is coming off of the bench with elite offensive talent such as JR Smith, or Andrea Bargnani. Stoudemire will still contribute to any success the Knicks taste next season but it will be to a much lesser extent.
Projected stats: 21 mpg, 12.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.8 bpg, 48 FG %
Backup Point Guard: Pablo Prigioni
Pablo Prigioni showed up last season to play and it showed at the end of the season when he flourished and guided the Knicks to a 13 game win streak and was a big reason on why they reached the second round of the playoffs but that was in a starting role. I see Prigioni coming off the bench as the Knicks will opt to put dual guard, Iman Shumpert, at the two as a way to develop his skills for the future while allowing Prigioni to come off of the bench and play around the same time he did last season for the Knicks but just with the second unit. His spacing will be key as he will be able to help Andrea Bargnani, JR Smith, and Amar’e Stoudemire all get better looks with his great passing ability.
Projected stats: 16 mpg, 4.2 ppg, 5.3 apg, 2.6 rpg, 48 FG %, 41% from behind the arc
Backup Small Forward: Andrea Bargnani
In Toronto, Andrea Bargnani was called a bust and with all the high expectations, he failed to live up to most of them but with the Knicks it is a different story. Bargnani will be coming to New York not as a first pick bust, but instead as a role player who can contribute scoring off the bench. There is no doubt that Bargnani can score the ball and that is what Mike Woodson will be looking for him to do, but just in a more reserved role off of the bench to backup the starting small forward. Look for Bargnani to lift his game in New York.
Projected stats: 15 mpg, 9.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 44 FG %, 33% from behind the arc
Backup Center: Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin was great last season when the Knicks picked him up as a free agent for the end of the season and a playoff run and it showed that he was playing at a high level as the Knicks opted to re-sign the veteran to a one year deal. This is one of the most underrated moves of the offseason. With Tyson Chandler starting at center for the Knicks, they will look for Kenyon Martin to provide relief minutes while contributing hard nosed, low post defense while getting inside the paint and causing havoc on the other end of the floor. Even though we have projected Martin to play less minutes than last season, those will still be important minutes and no doubt, his contribution will be big if the Knicks have success next season.
Projected stats: 10 mpg, 3.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.7 bpg 50 FG %
Third String Point Guard: Beno Udrih
The Knicks got a steal this offseason when they picked up free agent point guard, Beno Udrih, after his deal with the Magic ran out. Udrih is a pass first point guard but can still shoot the ball from behind the arc and as a third string point guard thats more or less what the Knicks will be looking for him to do. Don’t expect him to play many minutes unless the Knicks run a duel point guard lineup but expect him to do big things in the limited minutes he gets next season for the Knicks.
Projected stats: 7 mpg, 3.1 ppg, 2.2 apg, 0.8 rpg 44 FG %, 33% from behind the arc
Third String Shooting Guard: Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Knicks selected sharp shooting wing, Tim Hardaway Jr., with the 24th pick of the 2013 NBA draft and it was a good pick. Even if Hardaway Jr. doesn’t play many minutes in a clogged Knicks rotation, expect for him to provide instant offense off of the bench whenever he does play. If Hardaway Jr. can manage to step up on offense and contribute at a consistent rate, he may see a rise in minutes during the middle of the season.
Projected stats 6 mpg, 3.2 ppg, 1.3 apg, 1.2 rpg, 43 FG %, 34% behind the arc
The players that are on the roster but we have not mentioned on the 12 man rotation are C.J Leslie and Jeremy Tyler. With these two being unexperienced in the league it is most likely the Mike Woodson will opt to only make them play garbage time during the season but if they impress they can knock off some players in this projected rotation.