If there is one thing I learned about New York Sports Fans, they are the best in the business. The New York Knicks play in the Mecca of basketball, watched by the most knowledgeable fans on the planet.
As a fan, a former player, I await news and updates from management. Well coach Mike Woodson, general manager Glen Grunwald; so far with training camp around the corner, you have plenty of fours, but no legitimate backup center.
At the 4 you have the likes of Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and C.J. Leslie and now we add Josh Powel and Ike Diogu. (We still have Jeremy Tyler signed).
Well for one, I’m not impressed. With all the talent we brought into training camp, this is the best we could do? Personally, I don’t see either one on the roster by seasons end, let alone the beginning.
We all know that Woodson loves small ball. However, you will not beat the likes of Indiana, Brooklyn, San Antonio, or Miami that way. Even Miami took a flyer on former overall No. 1 pick Greg Oden. If he works out once again Pat Riley has potentially outfoxed the Knicks.
Last year, Tyson Chandler minutes went up from his championship season in Dallas where he averaged 27.8 minutes per game versus last year 32.8. Now is it any coincidence that in 2010-11 with Dallas he played 74 games, versus 66 last year?
That is a difference of eight games which mostly came at the end of the season. He was tired and beat up. What would we have done if Kenyon Martin didn’t step in?
K-Mart was great but now he must also face a full season as last year he rested most of the season until the Knicks took him out of his non planned retirement.
I get it, with Tyler out; they are looking for a banger to protect Carmelo, Amar’e and Kenyon. It is a long season and we must protect Chandler, he must be fresh for the playoffs, as he is our warrior.
WE NEED A CAPABLE BACKUP.
Even though the Knicks just signed Cole Aldrich, there is still a need for another big body as you really don’t know whether you are getting a player with potential in Aldrich or a total first-round bust.
My first choice is still Hamed Haddadi. Why? Because he is a big body, a space eater, a huge 7’2”, with some good around the basket skills. He can block the middle, and has some skills and a lot of heart.
We proved against Indiana to be too small as we could not stop Roy Hibbert.
What has changed?
Woodson has to protect the middle and cannot wear Chandler out during the year. Hoops Hype says of Haddadi, “Rebounds and blocks shots at a good rate”
I still like Earl Barron; to me he is worth another worth a look. He is seven-footer, has a decent shot, which will move the opposing center away from the basket. He had 18 rebounds in one game last year. Personally I don’t know of another Knick who had that many rebounds in any one game outside of Chandler the entire year.
By signing both Haddad, or Barron, or both, to minimum contracts, is a low-risk deal. I rather see these two centers in camp, competing to backup Chandler versus another power forward.
Why not invite Henry Sims?
Sims was the D-League Rookie of the Year and has the size and skills to become a nice defensive specialist. He looked stronger than last year in Las Vegas, proved himself in the D-league, and is a true center. Why not invite him in; no one else has to date.
To win a championship you must win in the middle.
Bargnani is a legitimate seven-footer, but he plays more like a 4, then a 5. Yes, you can play him in the middle, with the support of a Martin or a Diogu. However can he cover Hibbert?
This is just another formula of small ball. The Nets can put Brook Lopez, Reggie Evans and Kevin Garnett on the floor at the same time. Without a true center, we don’t match up.
Chandler is the best; he is the heart and soul of the Knicks, a true gamer, a warrior. Now let’s find him help, a legitimate backup center, so by the playoffs, he can lead the Knicks to a championship.
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a Best Selling author www.drerickaplan.com