Knicks Rumors: New York Should Steer Clear of Josh Howard

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2012

DALLAS - JANUARY 28:  Josh Howard #5 of the Dallas Mavericks during play against the Golden State Warriors on January 28, 2008 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The New York Knicks have quietly had a busy offseason.

And, no, they weren't just busy losing Jeremy Lin.

The organization brought in Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton to replace Lin, but the more impressive moves were designed to fortify the second unit. Center Marcus Camby and swingman Ronnie Brewer could give the Knicks one of the most dangerous benches in the league—at least on the defensive end.

Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears reports that New York might not be done yet:

Jazz free agent forward Josh Howard expected to make a decision soon, source tell Y! Sports. Utah, IND, GS, BK and NY in mix.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 29, 2012

Though Josh Howard would give head coach Mike Woodson some additional depth, that doesn't mean the Knicks should bring him on board.

Sure, the 32-year-old is still a capable defender, but he'd be redundant at best with Brewer backing up All-Star Carmelo Anthony. Unless NYC has plans to move Amar'e Stoudemire and play Anthony at the power forward position on a full-time basis, all Howard would do is cut into the playing time of a better player.

The Knicks may view Brewer as more of a shooting guard, but he'd have more opportunities to play if they gave him time behind Anthony. That will be all the more true when Iman Shumpert returns and joins J.R. Smith at the 2.

The 27-year-old Brewer still has some work to do on his jumper, but he's an excellent on-ball defender.

Meanwhile, Howard has lost a step, and it's not entirely clear that his own jump shot is much better than Brewer's at this point. He shot the ball at under 40 percent for the Utah Jazz last season, and he hasn't hit the 45 percent mark since 2008-09.

There's still time for him to improve those numbers, but it won't get a whole lot easier with each passing year.

Howard's declining athleticism—which can be attributed to past injuries as much as age—complicates his scoring ability in a number of ways.

Without the ability to slash to the paint on a regular basis, defenders know Howard is little more than shooter and can play up on him accordingly. Additionally, Howard just won't get the lift on that jumper that aided him early in his career.

Without Durant-like length, that makes it hard for the guy to get a lot of clean looks.

Howard can still play to be sure. He'll get to the free-throw line a couple of times a game, and he'll grab some rebounds. 

He just doesn't make much sense for the Knicks. If New York has extra minutes to spare, they should go to a younger player, or maybe even 28-year-old summer league standout Chris Copeland.

New York may be in "win now" mode, but it still has a future to worry about. Bringing in veterans to play third-string forward doesn't advance any long-term agenda. 

It really doesn't help the short-term priorities that much, either.