The primary concern in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade was that, although New York had a formidable starting lineup, the bench had been depleted.
Coming into the season, this was still the case given the limited number of role-players the Knicks added during the brief free-agency period.
Iman Shumpert, along with Toney Douglas, was projected to spark the second unit—considerable expectations to be placed upon a rookie.
The Georgia Tech product didn't disappoint.
After a couple of standout preseason games, Shumpert's hot start carried into the season-opener against the Celtics, but was abruptly extinguished. After pouring in 11 points and grabbing four rebounds in just 22 minutes of action, he was assisted off the court with a knee injury.
Fortunately, Shumpert is expected to return in a few weeks, but other players have to rise to the occasion with him sidelined.
As I mentioned in the preceding slide, Josh Harrellson demonstrated his worth when it counted.
But he is not the only reserve validating himself.
He's technically the sixth man, but until Baron Davis is activated, Douglas will continue to be the starting point guard. Having only started 25 games since entering the NBA in 2009, the combo guard is facing steep demands, but so far he has responded admirably.
Douglas justified his starter status in a major way with a 19-point, three-steal showing in the win over Boston, and capped off the West Coast road trip with a 17-point, eight-assist line in Sacramento.
While these exceptional performances were sandwiched around two mediocre ones, Douglas will only become more confident and consistent as his big-game exposure increases.
Bill Walker can occasionally be erratic, but he's come up with two double-digit scoring outbursts in the early going and has been active on the defensive side of the ball.
Mike Bibby may not score like he used to, but he can still run an offense, and sets a good example for the younger players.
Sharpshooter Steve Novak has made his minutes count as a dependable three-point threat off the pine.
Once Jared Jeffries recovers from a left calf strain, he'll offer some size and aggressive defense.
Even the laughable Renaldo Balkman has contributed due to the grind of the shortened season's grueling schedule.
A 10-man rotation is virtually unheard of, especially in New York, but it could very well be a mainstay with so many back-to-back games.