With a shabby 2-4 preseason record, some fans have begun worrying about the New York Knicks. While some of those worries are legitimate, like lackluster defense and inconsistent shooting, it’s also important to remember that the Knicks haven’t yet played with a full deck of cards.
Good news may be coming, though, as Adam Zagoria reports that the Knicks will have J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Kenyon Martin examined to see if they can play in Friday’s preseason finale.
Of course, there should be asterisks placed next to any excitement. First and foremost, if, by some chance all three could play, they’d all see very limited action as they’re still working their way back from injuries. It’d be nice to get them some real-time action, but each of them would have to play pretty sparing minutes and pretty cautiously, too. Keep in mind that Stoudemire and Martin will both be on minutes- and games-restrictions, anyway, so their potential playingtime Friday night will be limited.
For Smith, even a return to action Friday wouldn’t full signal his comeback. He still has to serve his five-game suspension when the season starts, so although he can play in preseason, he’ll have to sit out the five subsequent regular season games. If Smith is actually ready to go, it’d be great news, but one has to wonder if the Knicks are just bringing him back Friday to get the clock started on his suspension immediately.
Nonetheless, the return of all three would be great news. Mike Woodson could trot out something most closely resembling a full rotation. Raymond Felton may or may not play depending on his cranky hamstring but, the rest of the Knicks seem good to go. There would be a full bench unit, and it’d be interesting to see how the offense and defense takes form.
While preseason hasn’t been all that encouraging, it’s important to remember that last year’s team looked somewhat flat in exhibition games before exploding into the regular season. These Knicks may very well do the same, and we could get a better indication of that if they can gather their full team together.
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