NBA Playoffs 2012: How Starting Landry Fields Changes New York Knicks Gameplan

Matt Dienstag@MEDdaWorldStagContributor IIINovember 21, 2016

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22:  Landry Fields #2 of the New York Knicks drives against Jerry Stackhouse #42 of the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on February 22, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

With starting shooting guard Iman Shumpert done for the season with a torn ACL, the Knicks will have to find a way to replace the rookie's production.

The Knicks also have questions surrounding starting center Tyson Chandler (flu) and point guard Baron Davis (back) for Game 2 but reportedly will be available tonight.

According to Howard Beck of the New York Times:


Baron and Tyson will both start tonight. Fields replaces Shumpert.

— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) April 30, 2012


While it looks like Chandler and Davis are a go for tonight, the Knicks are still faced with two questions:

How will they replace Shumpert's perimeter defense, and how can they make Carmelo Anthony more effective?

In a brutal Game 1 loss, the Knicks' offensive weapons were neutralized by the Heat. They were forced into turnovers that led to 38 points for Miami.

In Game 2, they will need to find a way to slow down the Heat's Big 3 and feature Anthony more effectively in the offense.

Shumpert quickly became one of the peskier young defenders in the league. Without him, the Knicks are going to struggle to pressure LeBron James and Dwyane Wade when they have the ball.

Fields needs to try and keep James out of the paint, where he kills opposing defenses.
Fields needs to try and keep James out of the paint, where he kills opposing defenses.Marc Serota/Getty Images

While the Knicks will surely miss the young guard, there's nothing they can do about it now, and they must make adjustments and play to the strengths of Shumpert's successor in the lineup, Landry Fields.

Fields lacks the agility that Shumpert possesses and isn't nearly as crafty in taking the ball away from opposing guards.

However, that doesn't mean that Fields isn't a solid man-to-man defender. He has shown the ability in the past to keep opposing team's offensive weapons from lighting up the score board.

Fields will keep his man in front of him and will have his hands up to deflect the ball when it's coming through the passing lanes.

By starting Fields, the Knicks can also provide some relief defensively for Carmelo Anthony. With Fields being a bigger but slower option, the Knicks should put Carmelo Anthony on Dwyane Wade to avoid being burned by the Heat's shooting guard.

Anthony is much quicker than Fields and will adjust to the Wade's slashing ability much more effectively. He maintains a significant height advantage over Wade as well, which will help decrease the amount of space Wade has to release his shot.

Fields isn't going to shut down LeBron James, but having him guard LeBron will limit the wear and tear on Carmelo Anthony.

Lets face it, LeBron James is an absolute freak of a specimen. He's way bigger than Anthony and is far less vital to the Heat's success at this point than Anthony is to the Knicks.

Anthony has to carry the Knicks completely for them to even have a chance in this series. While guarding Wade is no walk in the park, it at least takes away from some of the battling he has to deal with from LeBron James on the offensive side.

Secondly, James is far better at driving to the basket than he is at shooting jump shots. In Game 1, James couldn't miss from the field, but that doesn't happen every night.

Fields needs to keep James out of the lane. If more than half of LeBron's shots come from the field and not inside the paint, the Knicks will have a chance.

If James beats the Knicks from the field, there isn't much they can do about it.

On offense, Fields needs to be the slasher that he has shown to be at times during the season. Fields has been great at moving without the ball and finding openings in the defense.

If Fields attacks the offensive glass the way he is capable of, it will provide vital second chance opportunities for the Knicks. When playing at his best, Fields has shown to be one of the Knicks better offensive rebounders, and at times his extra effort has provided momentum swings in favor of the Knicks.

If Fields can maintain his confidence, he will be able to give the Knicks some much needed energy and production on the defensive and offensive sides of the ball.


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