The New York Knicks’ biggest offseason addition was the trade that brought former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani to New York.
While many Knicks fans loved the move, thinking they got themselves a legitimate second scoring option next to Carmelo Anthony, I have often been on record as hating the move.
It really had nothing to do with what the Knicks gave up, although I felt they severely overpaid for a guy who hasn’t shot above 45 percent from the floor since the 2010-11 season, but was coming off a year in which he shot only 39 percent from the floor and 30 percent from behind the arc.
I never really believed that Bargnani would be the guy to stretch the floor that the Knicks needed.
Throw in the fact that while Bargs is averaging 13.3 points per game this season, he is only shooting 27.8 percent from behind the arc, which wasn’t exactly the plan the Knicks envisioned.
Add all of that up and you get a team that ranks only 22nd in the NBA in scoring.
However Bargnani’s injury may have been a blessing in disguise for the Knicks.
Since he was injured in the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Knicks have scored over 106 points in each of their past four games. Even more impressive, during their recent three-game win streak, the Knicks have scored 125, 110 and 114 points. If you are scoring at home, that’s a 116.3 per game average.
While it is a small sample size, that would put the Knicks No. 1 in the league in scoring.
It’s something I think that can continue and unfortunately it has a lot to do with Bargs not being on the floor.
Take his defensive deficiencies out of the question (It’s worth noting the team has been better defensively without him), Bargs is a guy who doesn’t stretch the floor, he clogs it.
The Knicks simply look like a freer, looser offensive team with Bargnani out of the picture. While Anthony has carried the Knicks offense, you are finally seeing everyone chip in as they are getting more opportunities.
With Anthony and Bargs on the floor together, often one of them was going to shoot the ball. Throw J.R. Smith into that equation and there weren’t many shots to be had for everyone else.
You just saw no chemistry at all with Bargs on the floor.
The bottom line is that almost every time Bargnani touched the ball he was either going to shoot a jumper or pump fake for a drive. I don’t think he passed the ball once all season on the drive.
With Bargnani out of the picture, Melo doesn’t seem like he is forced to get Bargs the ball and the offense has more of a flow to it and a much better rhythm.
Then there is the fact that Mike Woodson can now go small without Bargnani and similar to last year the Knicks have had success that way.
While it is nice that Anthony is primarily playing the 4 again, going small also gives Tim Hardaway Jr. more minutes.
Unlike Bargnani, Hardaway is a guy who can help create more room for Melo to go to work as the opposition has to respect his perimeter shot.
The rookie has scored in double digits in four out of the last five games and during the Knicks three-game win streak, has averaged 14.7 points, 2.7 three-pointers, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game, while getting 30 minutes per game.
The Knicks offense is just in a much better place without Bargnani.
Now throw in the defensive aspect.
We all know how limited Bargs is on the defensive end, but his injury, coupled with injuries to Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin, have allowed Woodson to get a long look at Cole Aldrich and Jeremy Tyler, the two young bigs on the roster.
Both youngsters have responded in their limited look as they have combined to grab 33 rebounds, score 32 points and block eight shots in the three games without Bargnani.
Add it all up and the Knicks as a team just seem to produce better at both ends of the floor without Bargnani, who just hasn’t seemed to fit in.
That’s something I feared coming into the season.
Keep in mind that the last three wins have come against three bad teams in the Bobcats, Lakers and Celtics, so it isn’t something to get too excited about.
However it is an encouraging sign.
You never want to see your players get hurt, but at the end of the day, Bargnani’s injury could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.