Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Lineup: PG—Pablo Prigioni, SG—Iman Shumpert, SF—Metta World Peace, PF—Carmelo Anthony, C—Tyson Chandler
In reality, it's a certainty that Raymond Felton will be starting at point guard on opening day, but there's a good argument to be made for Pablo Prigioni taking that role.
Felton is very good at what he does. He's great at penetrating and working in the pick-and-roll, and also acts as Carmelo Anthony's second scoring option in the starting five. With that said, he is not a good defender by any stretch of the imagination and was also very inconsistent last year (although injuries played a large part in that).
On the other hand, Prigioni is an above-average defender with a knack for causing turnovers, and is much more selective with his shots on offense, focusing purely on finding the open man.
With Melo on the floor, the Knicks are always going to have a good offense, so long as the team commits to ball movement. As good as Felton was last year, he was the team's floor general, and should take a large portion of the blame for the way the offense broke down in the postseason.
Despite lacking in speed and athleticism, Prigioni is a much better and more accomplished passer, and his command of the offense will make sure it doesn't get stagnant. As one of the world's best point guards from the last decade, he has the pedigree to control Melo's ball supply and make sure isolation isn't the focus of the offense.
The main selling point of this lineup, however, is on defense. With Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Metta World Peace and Tyson Chandler on the floor at the same time, the Knicks could legitimately be one of the league's elite defensive teams. Melo will be the only weak spot, but World Peace's flexibility means he will be going up against the lesser of the opposition's forwards.
Prigioni's game has never been based on athleticism, so even at 36 there's a good chance he could handle starter's minutes. He doesn't do much in transition, but the Knicks were one of the league's slowest teams last season and still managed to finish third in offensive efficiency. If anything, he fits into their style of play.
The major issue with the lineup is scoring. Outside of Anthony, the Knicks won't have anyone on the floor who can legitimately create their own shot, unless Shumpert develops his mid-range game significantly over the summer.
Again, this lineup isn't realistically going to be used unless Felton goes down with injury, but it is worth thinking about. Felton wouldn't react well to a demotion, but this move could actually improve ball movement and defense simultaneously, which were the Knicks' biggest issues in the playoffs.