Predicting the New York Knicks Final 12-Man Roster
With some fresh faces and a few key departures, the New York Knicks will take on a new look as they head into a crucial 2012-13 campaign.
Throughout the truncated 2011-12 NBA season, the Knicks were one of the league's most compelling teams.
Jeremy Lin left his mark on the NBA, while the inability of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire to create some necessary chemistry was frustrating and, ultimately, disappointing.
Here is an early look at the Knicks' final 12-man roster for the 2012-13 season.
It wasn't all that long ago that Raymond Felton was the New York Knicks' floor general.
After an impressive 2010-11 campaign (statistically speaking), in which Felton averaged 17.1 points and nine assists per game, Felton eventually landed in Portland, where he struggled to find a rhythm.
Playing in Mike D'Antoni's wide open offense certainly benefited Felton in a big way, but now, with Mike Woodson firmly entrenched as the team's leading man, Felton may not be afforded such offensive freedom.
Felton figures to slot in as the team's starting point guard right out of the gate, although he will need to temper his offensive expectations with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in the fold.
He may not be Jeremy Lin, but Felton is an adequate replacement for the one-year wonder.
While Shumpert doesn't figure to be a major contributor from the get-go, he's one of the team's most athletic players and a crucial defensive cog that will help the Knicks come playoff time.
Shumpert started 35 games in his rookie season, averaging just under 10 points a game. Shumpert also led the team with 1.7 steals per game in the regular season.
With Landry Fields out of the picture, Shumpert figures to see more minutes at shooting guard, which is positively great news for Knicks fans.
Make no mistake about it, Carmelo Anthony was the star of the Olympic men's basketball team in London over the past two weeks.
Anthony showed absolutely no hesitation shooting from deep, and he even played some nice post defense when asked to do so.
Anthony's performance, both offensive and defensively, was nothing but encouraging for Knicks fans, as the team's primary scoring threat looks to bounce back from a fairly disappointing 2011-12 season.
Carmelo's scoring average dropped nearly four points last season (down to 22.6 from 26.3), but with a full offseason to absorb Mike Woodson's offense, Anthony should be among the league's leading scorers when this season draws to a close.
While there are bound to be a few bumps in the road as this season drags along, Anthony's performance this summer bodes well for a team in need of a true leader.
Amar'e Stoudemire's brief stint as the focal point of the Knicks' offense may have been rudely interrupted by the arrival of Carmelo Anthony, but it's unlikely that we'll see Stoudemire return to peak offensive form this season.
Stoudemire's numbers from the 2010-11 season were staggering, as he averaged a career-high 25.3 points per game on an average of 19 attempts.
Now, with Carmelo firmly in the fold, Stoudemire's days as the primary scorer in New York are over. In last season's condensed schedule, Amar'e scored a respectable 17.5 points per game on an average of just 14 attempts.
While Stoudemire's drop-off in production last season may have been a bit severe, it's more reasonable to expect numbers reminiscent of last season—and not 2010—in 2012.
If first impressions are everything, then Knicks fans have to be beaming about Tyson Chandler's performance in his first season in the Big Apple.
Chandler took home the league's Defensive Player of the Year award and established himself as one of the Eastern Conference's most imposing big men.
The Knicks center averaged a league-best 67.9 percent shooting from the field while posting 11.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Chandler also averaged 1.4 blocks per game—a team high.
Chandler figures to be in the mix for the league's DPOY award once again in 2012-13 and should benefit from a reunion with point guard Jason Kidd. Expect plenty of Kidd-to-Chandler lobs as the season gets underway. They won't be hard to miss.
Now 39 years old, Jason Kidd is not the same player he once was in New Jersey.
Kidd's scoring abilities have diminished over the past five or so seasons, but then again, that's not why the Knicks signed the veteran point guard.
Kidd's real value comes in his ability to see the floor—something he does better than most point guards, even at this stage in his career.
A nice complement to score-first point guard Raymond Felton, Kidd should see somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 minutes per game, although circumstances will dictate his playing time on a nightly basis.
The real question is: Who would you rather have on the floor in crunch time, Kidd or Felton? Kidd is reliable, but his abilities are limited. Felton is anything but reliable, but he offers a bit more firepower.
My money is on Kidd, mainly because of his elite decision making. The Knicks have enough scorers in Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith that they don't need a shoot-first point guard on the floor in the clutch.
A journeyman throughout his early years in the NBA, Steve Novak played for four different teams in six seasons before finding a home with the Knicks.
In a complementary role off of the bench last season, Novak played just under 19 minutes per game, establishing himself as the team's three-point specialist.
Novak shot 47.2 percent from beyond the arc in 2011-12, averaging more than five three-point attempts per game.
The sharpshooter was quite consistent, posting 8.8 points per game while shooting over 84 percent from the free-throw line.
Novak has shown the ability to get hot at a moment's notice, flashing his trademark belt celebration (that he may or may not have borrowed from Aaron Rodgers).
At 6'10'', Novak slots in nicely as a specialist and backup small forward to Carmelo Anthony.
To put it plainly, J.R. Smith likes to shoot the basketball. Let me repeat: This guy really likes to shoot the ball.
Smith maximized the 27 or so minutes he averaged per night in his first season with the Knicks, hoisting up 11.6 shots (5.5 of which were threes) to the tune of 12.5 points per game.
If there's one thing Smith needs to work on, and perhaps this is a long shot, it's shot selection. The Knicks' gunner just barely shot over 40 percent from the field and hit at a 34.7 percent clip from deep.
It will likely be more of the same from Smith this season, but perhaps Mike Woodson's offense will help tame his ambitious approach.
Smith can play both the 2 and the 3, so expect him to come off the bench to help spell Carmelo Anthony and Iman Shumpert.
Camby, now 38 years old, won't see a ton of minutes, but his presence will be felt when Tyson Chandler takes a rest or is caught in foul trouble.
Camby won't offer much in terms of scoring (just 4.9 points per game in 2011-12), but he's got a 6'11'', 235-pound frame that will provide some stability on the defensive end.
Still an efficient rebounder, Camby averaged nine rebounds per game in his stints with Portland and Houston last season while blocking 1.4 shots per game (the same as Tyson Chandler).
Camby, along with new addition Kurt Thomas, will be welcome additions to a frontcourt in need of some depth.
Yet another veteran addition for the Knicks, Kurt Thomas will return to the city where he played for seven seasons from 1998-2005.
Set to turn 40 years old in October, Thomas will enter his 19th NBA season as a backup power forward to Amar'e Stoudemire in the Knicks' frontcourt.
Thomas is often listed as a center, but his height (6'9'') and the addition of Marcus Camby make him a more logical fit at the 4.
The ageless wonder has never been a prolific scorer and, like Camby, has been brought in to be a banger in the post, spelling Stoudemire when he needs a quick rest.
Thomas logged just over 15 minutes per game last season with Portland, so expect similar numbers this season in New York.
It's safe to say that the addition of Ronnie Brewer was a direct result of Iman Shumpert's gruesome knee injury.
For those who don't know, Brewer played the last two seasons in Chicago, where he saw consistent minutes at shooting guard.
In fact, Brewer started 43 of 66 games this past season and could be an early-season replacement for Shumpert as he continues to rehab his knee.
Brewer is an efficient mid-range shooter with a career field goal percentage of 50.1 percent. Brewer's calling card has typically been his tough defense, which, combined with his decent mid-range game, could be a really nice piece for the Knicks.
Brewer isn't able to stretch the floor and knock down threes, but Mike Woodson has plenty of other weapons capable of taking on that role.
Although he's not flashy, Brewer should be able to adequately supplement the play of Iman Shumpert throughout the 2012-13 campaign.
Pablo Prigioni may have entered the Olympics as a relative unknown to most NBA fans, but his emergence as a key piece for the Argentinian national team has made him a popular name over the past few weeks.
Prigioni has never set foot on an NBA court, and, although he's 35 years old, he will enter this season as a rookie.
The Argentinian point guard has shown impressive court vision, and he brings international flair to a backcourt that has undergone a drastic facelift this offseason.
Prigioni will fight for minutes behind Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, and it's unclear what role he will play at this time. Should either Kidd or Felton miss time due to injury, Prigioni could make a surprising impact.