Sep 13, 2010, 7:20 PM EDT
While you were busy talking about how the Knicks missed out on LeBron and Wade but got that Amare guy and he’s not that bad, you missed something.
Donnie Walsh put together a pretty deep team.
Not deep with name guys in the Lakers sense, but similar in one way — deep with guys who fit the system. The Lakers, Celtics (mostly, we’ll see about Shaq), Spurs, Suns have all been very good at this, getting role players who really fit in with what they want to do.
The Knicks did that this summer.
Let’s assume a starting five of the Knicks tall lineup: Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph, Amar’e Stoudemire and Ronnie Turiaf. (Nobody knows who will actually start, not even Mike D’Antoni at this point, maybe Wilson Chandler starts at the two, Gallinari at the three and Randolph comes off the bench, but we’ll go with the tall lineup for now.)
Off the bench would come Toney Douglas, Wilson Chandler, Kelenna Azubuike, Roger Mason Jr., Larry Fields, Eddy Curry and Timofey Mozgov.
That is not a lineup of All-Stars. But it is a lineup of guys who are athletic, who can run, who can drain the three, who can score. Guys who fit the system. It’s sort of like what the Suns had last year — a group of guys who hustled and blended with what the Suns wanted to do and could put up points. That Suns group won regular season games — it also won a Western Conference finals game. It was a big part of what the Suns did.
Douglas can run the point a little and is we learned one thing about Mozgov at the World Championships it’s that he can set a good pick, roll to the hole and finish. You can picture a drag screen with them being effective. Mason could bounce back to the form that made him a supersub in San Antonio — picture him sprinting down the court to an open spot on the arc and draining the transition three.
Once he really gets healthy and his strength back, Azubuike may be the starter. He is more dynamic than Chandler. In the short term Azubuike is going to be explosive off the bench. And Wilson Chandler showed last year he can ball in this system.
Eddy Curry… let’s not bet on it. But if he can even return to the 15 PER guy he was two seasons ago — a league average guy — at the five off the bench? Huge boost for this team.
Mike D’Antoni’s system is built in part on conditioning and wearing another team down — they are going to run and run and run and you will not be able to keep up. You will wear down. They will break you.
To do that takes more than five — it takes nine or 10 deep. The Knicks have that now.
There will be a lot o playing around with lineups and matchups. It may take a while to figure out the rotations. But the Knicks have depth now, they have athletes deep on the roster.
And that could win them some games.
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