Knick Rumors: Ranking the Backcourt Options on NY's Radar
The New York Knicks have 13 players on their roster and a shooting-guard spot to fill off the bench with the veteran's minimum, offering either the bi-annual or mini mid-level exception.
According to ESPN's Jared Zwerling, the Knicks should be looking at a number of players, although only three are confirmed actually to be on the radar:
Here are several candidates who could fill the two position off the bench at about $1.4 million next season: Ronnie Brewer, Maurice Evans and Jodie Meeks (who have been confirmed as being on the Knicks' radar), Mickael Pietrus (who wants to return to the Celtics, but they seem lukewarm to the idea), Sonny Weems (the Raptors recently withdrew their qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent), Marco Belinelli (but he plays inconsistent defense) and Carlos Delfino (who could be the best option).
Weems, Belinelli and Delfino are all merely speculative options, while Pietrus is no longer an option, according to ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling:
Count Mickael Pietrus out for #Knicks. He has a "huge" offer overseas but wants to play for an NBA playoff team for more than vet's minimum.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) July 19, 2012
That means that we can look at only Brewer, Evans and Meeks as strong options for the Knicks at this point.
Let's see how they stack up.
3. Maurice Evans
A Maurice Evans signing would leave the New York Knicks just reeking of desperation. At this point in the swingman's career, I'm not even sure that he should be on an NBA roster, much less a contender's roster.
Last season for the Washington Wizards, Evans used his 24 appearances to average 4.9 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game. He turned the ball over as man times as he recorded assists, shot 40.2 percent from the field and had a PER of 9.08.
The following was written by ESPN's John Hollinger before the 2011-2012 season:
Apologies for the brutality, but Evans looks like he's about spent. His trademark skills in the league have been that he's a good athlete, he can shoot respectably, and he won't beat himself. The last is still true -- Evans had the fifth-lowest turnover ratio among small forwards.
But athletically, he's got nothing left. Evans finished 64th among small forwards in rebound rate, 59th in usage rate, 51st in blocks, 53rd in steals and 61st in free throw rate. He'll still take corner 3s but he's merely adequate in this area; others do it better. And even when he got to the rim, he converted only 59.5 percent -- subpar for a player who used to throw down authoritative jams.
New York must stay away. Sorry, that wasn't strong enough.
New York must stay very, very, very far away.
2. Jodie Meeks
The Knicks' second-best (and second-worst) option is significantly better than Evans.
A 6'4" shooting guard who has spent three years in the league after leaving Kentucky, Jodie Meeks spent last season coming off the bench for the Philadelphia 76ers. Although he wasn't nearly as successful as Lou Williams, he still averaged 8.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game.
Meeks is very much a specialist, with most of his impact coming from downtown. If he signed with the Knicks, he'd spend quite a bit of time so far away from the basket that people would think he just didn't like being in Manhattan.
What makes the former Wildcat special is that he can knock down his triples off both the pass and the dribble. Last season he shot 36.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc, on four attempts per game.
Meeks would be the No. 1 option in these rankings for many teams—but not the Knicks, who already have three-point specialists and an offensively oriented shooting guard named J.R. Smith.
1. Ronnie Brewer
While Meeks is an offensive specialist, Ronnie Brewer prefers to ply his trade on the other end of the court.
Brewer isn't a terrible offensive option around the rim, but he's not exactly an accurate shooter from outside of the paint.
Just look at the breakdown of his shooting last season (via Hoopdata.com):
|At Rim||3-9 Feet||10-15 Feet||16-23 Feet||Three-Pointers|
|League-Average SG FG%||62.9||36.7||39.3||38.3||37.0|
Defense is another story for Brewer.
According to 82games.com, the shooting guard managed to hold his opponent to an 11.8 PER when guarding his natural position. Playing out of position and guarding opposing small forwards, Brewer was even better, holding them to just an 11.5 PER.
This defensive presence is what the Knicks need while Iman Shumpert is recovering from his postseason knee injury.
At this point, Brewer is easily the best option for New York.
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