What was the main flaw with the New York Knicks last season?
The team had almost everything that was needed to go to a championship, or at least make a run—a superstar, great chemistry, a deep bench, a balanced offensive attack and dedication to defense (which did suffer some lapses).
But the Knicks were missing two things that they really didn’t get at any point throughout the season with any type of consistency—rebounding and interior scoring.
Tyson Chandler was really the only center on the team, because even when Marcus Camby was healthy, he didn’t play. Chandler, who also dealt with a neck injury down the stretch, did the best he could and averaged about 10 points and 11 boards per game. In addition, Amar'e Stoudemire, who is the team's best offensive big-man, was sidelined for two enormous stretches and played in just 29 games.
New York ranked 25th in the league by the end of the season in rebounding, as the team’s next leading rebounder was Carmelo Anthony with nearly seven per night.
The Knicks got decimated on the glass by the Indiana Pacers in the second round of the playoffs and had to rely on long-range jumpers because there was no interior scoring. On the other end, the Knicks had no match for Roy Hibbert.
Right now, New York is planning to offer a contract to free agent Elton Brand, a move that is exactly what the team needs. According the Jared Zwelring of ESPN New York, there is mutual interest between the two.
The Knicks have been after Brand since the start of free agency. Brand, 34, provides scoring and rebounding, which the team needs. Brand is not only a solid rotation player—he is fine with coming off the bench—but insurance, as well, considering Amar'e Stoudemire's recent injury history.
Brand is attracted to the Knicks because of their winning culture and first-class organization, the source said. In addition, the team is close to his hometown—Peekskill, N.Y.—and his mother, Daisy, still lives nearby. Quality of life is also important to him as he decides on his next team, the source said.
Brand is no Dwight Howard, and there will be no television special to celebrate which team he opts to sign with during the offseason. Although he isn’t a superstar, Brand has been a quality player for 13 years in the NBA and has career numbers of 17.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Last season with the Dallas Mavericks, Brand put up just 7.2 points and six rebounds a night, but per 48 minutes his numbers were impressive—16.3 points and 13.5 rebounds.
Brand is 34 years old, and the absolute last thing that the Knicks need is another injured player. If healthy, though, he could become a crucial piece to New York’s pursuit of a title.
The team could finally have someone that they could throw the ball into on the post, as well as someone who would bang on the boards every night. Brand could become to the team what Kenyon Martin was last year, but better.
While Martin brought unmatchable energy and intensity each time he took the floor last season, Brand would be able to bring a lot more statistically, especially on offense. In an ideal world, the Knicks would bring back both Martin and Brand and solidify a tough three-man rotation along with Chandler.
This is a move that not only makes sense, but one the team absolutely needs. Brand would be able to fix New York’s two major flaws from last season and give the Knicks a deeper, more well-rounded team for the 2014 title chase.
General manager Glen Grunwald must find a way to make this happen—Brand needs to be a Knick in 2014.
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