NBA Free Agent Rumors: Knicks Need Marcus Camby to Become Contenders in East

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NBA Free Agent Rumors: Knicks Need Marcus Camby to Become Contenders in East
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If the New York Knicks want to be Eastern Conference title contenders, landing Marcus Camby would certainly increase their odds.

In even better news, Camby's meeting in the Big Apple reportedly went well. According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York:

Marcus Camby's meeting with the New York Knicks on Sunday was "very positive," according to a source familiar with the situation.

One of the NBA's best defensive centers, the highly sought-after Camby is aiming to make a decision in the next couple of days.

With that, let's break down the Knicks and Camby and see why New York needs him to enter the conference title contender discussion.

 

Defensive Presence

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The Knicks had a solid defense during the 2011-12 NBA season by ranking No. 11. Unfortunately, New York ranked No. 17 in defensive boards per game (30.5) and No. 18 overall.

Being able to consistently do work in the paint lacked last season. A big part of that can be attributed to the weak production from the frontcourt rotation. Starting center Tyson Chandler performed well, but opponents just controlled the inside when he was given a breather.

Camby on the other hand, still has the ability to dominate inside despite being 38-years-old. Last season he averaged 8.8 rebounds per game for Portland and then 9.1 for Houston down the stretch.

With other Eastern Conference contenders like Miami, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta presenting top five defenses, New York must close in. Already having a potentially explosive offense, Camby to the Knicks makes them a more complete team.

 

Reliability

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If there's anything Marcus Camby has been throughout his career, it's reliable.

He started 51 of 59 games for Portland during the 2010-11 season and then 53 of 59 games played last season. Additionally, Camby averaged just over 23 minutes per game in 2011-12 and recorded 7.1 points per contest once in Houston (second most since 2008-09 with the Clippers).

Only three times in his illustrious career has Camby played in less than 50 games, and he has made at least 56 appearances since the 2002-03 season. His effectiveness is what has kept Camby earning above 20-plus minutes despite age 40 coming sooner than later, and New York would certainly benefit from his production.

After all, Camby has yet to really slow down and with Madison Square Garden as his potential home, that opportunity alone will rejuvenate his career. With time of the essence, the Big Apple would get great effort from Camby each time out.

 

Game-Plan Dynamics

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Because of his size, the physical play in the paint and New York's need for reliability in the rotation, Marcus Camby could put in some time at power forward as well.

This, in turn, would allow Camby to be on the floor with Tyson Chandler at center. Those two would simply crush the glass for New York and really get the Knicks' defense on par with the offense. Another option is for Camby to play center with Stoudemire at power forward.

Obviously allowing the offense to change the pace, Camby has the ability to score when needed. And considering the potential of New York's offense, his rebounding will only create additional possessions to increase the game tempo.

The Knicks just become a better and more well-rounded team with Camby contributing down low. Include their current talent and New York is already on the brink of breaking through as a true title contender.

 

Follow John Rozum on Twitter.

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