Well today I was going to bring you a story about the Knicks bench depth and how they could possibly be the deepest team in the NBA. Scratch that with the Knicks recent struggles, but I’m still going to be giving you a post about the Knicks bench. Just in a different form.
The Knicks are composed of many talented players. Before the season started they have Melo, Amar’e, and Chandler being the core of their team. Other than that they lacked depth and talent from the bench. Now you can say they have one of the more talented rosters in the league. Since the lockout players like Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Steve Novak. That is eight quality players for the Knicks. Add in other role players like Baron Davis, Jared Jeffries, Josh Harrellson and you have a great team.
Then why aren’t the Knicks winning? They’re 18-24 after a loss to the Chicago Bulls tonight. Well for one Anthony and Stoudemire aren’t the same players they were. Anthony is really off shooting wise and I haven’t seen him perform really well since Christmas day vs. the Celtics. I’m not sure if he injured his elbow or knee again because I remember him getting two surgeries in the off-season. Melo was quoted saying that he was bothered by those injuries for seven years.
It just so happens that the Knicks other superstar, Stat is also bothered by injuries over his career. This season he’s overweight and lacked off-season training. He’s also coping with the loss of his older brother. Amar’e has a lot going on in his life right now, and it’s probably affecting his game. He looks like a completely different player right now. Not in a good way either.
The Knicks have four penciled in starters. They are Lin, Anthony, Stoudemire, and Chandler. The shooting guard spot varies from Fields, Smith, and Shumpert. So let’s not even put them into the bench category right now. Here are some profiles of the Knicks bench.
Landry Fields – Mr. Intangibles
Landry Fields is one of my favorite players to watch. It’s a shame that Mike D’Antoni hasn’t been playing him much since the arrival of J.R. Smith. I wasn’t expecting that to happen with Fields playing so well as of late, but it did. Yet he played a lot more vs. the Bucks and Sixers. So maybe there’s hope for him to show more of what he has to offer.
Fields is a player that works hard, and that is usually said about players who aren’t that good. In this case though, that’s untrue. Fields is a player who is going to create points on hustle plays and rebounding. A player who hustles usually will get the rebounds. It also has to do with his positioning on the court. Since Lin came along Fields has thrived. His backdoor cuts to the basket lead to easy baskets and exciting throw downs from the Stanford alumni. Those plays usually have me singing “Landry Fields Forever”.
Iman Shumpert -Defensive Specialist
Need to shut down an opposing point guard and get stops late in a game? Well D’Antoni, you might want to put in Shumpert. Shump isn’t the best distributor, but he can be a good offensive player as a shooting guard. His jump shot needs improvement, but he is excellent at getting to the rim. He can even throw it down really well.
J.R. Smith - Crowd Pleaser
Every championship caliber team needs that one crazy guy. J.R. Smith is that headcase for the Knicks. Smith has already been fined for posting inappropriate photos of Tahiri on his twitter account. Though Smith can really hype a crowd up. Either with a huge three pointer or a thunderous dunk that gets the crowd on their feet. The Knicks need more of that at the Garden.
Steve Novak - Three Point Specialist
Once upon a time Steve Novak ate a piece of cheese. Not just any cheese, magic cheese from the great depths of Wisconsin. This piece of cheese gave the powers to knock down a three from any distance on the court. It’s true. Mike D’Antoni says so.
It seems like the Knicks are more productive with a lineup consisting of mostly bench players. What I’m really getting at is when Melo and Amar’e are off the court the Knicks are a better team. It’s just true right now. D’Antoni is just confused as to who to put in during different situations. To his credit he barely had anytime with a set team since the Carmelo Anthony trade last winter. This team has been a bunch of moving parts. His style also calls for very little bench play. I’m not sure if people should speculate firing him even though this season has been an utter disappointment. If I’m in the Knicks front office I give him a full year with training camp to get this team on the right track.
There’s a lot of talent in New York. They just need to figure out how to utilize it fully. Time is the only way to find that out.