Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Exploring the New York Knicks' New Roster

Monday night Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks in a huge 12 player deal along with a lot of draft picks being thrown around.  The Knicks sent Mozgov, Felton, Galinari, and Chandler to the Nuggets along with their 2014 first round pick and 2 second round picks they obtained from the Warriors in the David Lee trade over the summer.  In addition to Anthony the Nuggets are sending Billups, Sheldon Williams, and Renaldo Balkman to New York.  The Knicks also sent Anthony Randolph and Eddie Curry and three million dollars to Minnesota, and in return they receive Corey Brewer.  So now that the Knicks have retooled their team what is their roster going to look like.  Their starting line up will most likely be:

PG: Billups
SG: Fields
SF: Anthony
PF: Stoudamire
C: Turiaf

Their back ups look like this:

Sixth Man: Corey Brewer
PG: Toney Douglas
F: Shawn Williams
SF/G: Kelenna Azubuike
G: Roger Mason Jr.
G: Andy Rautins
G/F: Bill Walker
PF/C: Sheldon Williams
SF/PF: Renaldo Balkman

The glaring weakness is their lack of big men.  There have been rumors of the Knicks signing Earl Barron from the D-league.  This team has a great starting line up 1-4, but I don't know how well Turiaf will be able to stand up to some of the better centers in the league because he is undersized.  Turiaf is a very competent and competitive defensive center, this is his specialty, but I don't know if he can handle the responsibility of playing great defense for 35-40 minutes a night.  Most of his action has been coming off the bench.  They better hope that Sheldon Williams can become a serviceable back up and fast, or at least he is 6 fouls coming off the bench.  Balkman is known as a hustle type player who is coming back for his second stint in New York.

This weakness may not be the downfall of this year's Knicks because of Mike D'Antoni's run and gun style of play.  The Knicks played very little defense before this trade, and they will probably play even less after, but now they should have a more potent offense.  There will be an adjustment period implementing Anthony and Billups to the lineup and Amare learning to coexist with Anthony taking 25 shots a game.

Billups could be the key to this team, he is a proven leader and a pure professional who can take and make the biggest shots.  I don't expect Landry Fields' play to drop at all, he is the ultimate glue guy, he will have to keep up the great rebounding he has exhibited all year and step it up on the defensive end while continuing to knock down open threes.

The back ups will also have to step it up, Kelenna Azubuike is coming off an injury and should be ready to play soon, but it is unknown how much he will be able to give to this team.  Corey Brewer had a break out year from the three point line last year and he brings the athleticism to be a lock down defender, but he has struggled for the most part this year.  D'Antoni hopes they got the guy from last year. They also need Bill Walker to step up, last year it seemed like he was going to be a major contributor this year but so far that has not been the case.

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