Get ready for more Melo!
The New York Knicks had a pretty good 2012-13 season, meaning it will be no easy task for the team to measure up this season. They’ve acquired some new players and lost others, while maintaining stars like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Let’s evaluate the New York team as is and make some predictions for the 2013-14 season.
Who they’ve kept
The Knicks have done well in re-signing shooting guard J.R. Smith, who won the coveted Sixth Man of the Year prize for his play last year. For the 2012-13 regular season, Smith averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per 33.5 minutes of game play. Definitely not bad for a sixth man.
Smith is only 27 years old and has nine years in the league, meaning he’s still got some good healthy years in him but isn’t inexperienced like a rookie. Undoubtedly, J.R. is at home on the Knicks’ court and will remain so next season. He’ll certainly contribute to the Knicks’ success.
New York also re-signed Pablo Prigioni, the 36-year-old point guard who played for years in Spain and Argentina before making his debut in the NBA just last season. The Knicks and Prigioni agreed to a three-year deal.
Last season with the Knicks, Prigioni averaged 3.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 16.2 minutes each game. Prigioni’s statistics aren’t anything like those of J.R. Smith, but he’ll continue to adapt to playing in the NBA next season and contribute decent minutes.
Let’s not forget the stars of the Knicks squad that are set to return next season. Of course, there’s Carmelo Anthony, who came back strong after a shoulder injury last season. Melo will continue to be a leading force for the Knicks.
There’s also Amar’e Stoudemire, the 30-year-old power forward who stands nearly seven feet tall. He’s always been an asset for New York, but Stoudemire’s knee problems are worrisome. Towards the end of last season,he underwent yet another procedure on his knee. This begs the question: Will the power forward’s knee problem continue to rear its ugly head during the 2013-14 season?
Who they’ve acquired
The Knicks haven’t been overly busy this offseason, but they’ve certainly made some noise with a few of their trades and signings. Most notably, the Knicks acquired center Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors. New York gave Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first-round draft pick and second-round draft picks in 2014 and 2017 to Toronto for the big man. Was he worth it? Critics would say yes, and fans of Bargnani don’t have much evidence to argue the contrary.
Bargnani is 27 years old and was drafted No.1 in the first round in 2006 by Toronto. For his career, he averages 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 30.3 minutes per game.
However, Bargnani’s play declined handedly last season. He averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per 28.7 minutes each game for Toronto. What’s more, he had to end his season early due to an elbow injury.
Yes, Bargnani once displayed impressive play. However, the Knicks took a huge gamble on him. Not only was his time on the court uninspiring last season, but he also displayed tendency to injury. What if he continues to play poorly and doesn’t fit in properly with the Knicks? What if he becomes injured again and is forced to miss crucial court time? His statistics and history suggest that Bargnani could be a failure next season. New York shouldn’t bet on too many contributions from him.
New York also signed small forward Metta World Peace to a two-year deal after he was amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers. Metta has 14 years of experience in the NBA, and he averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season.
He’s getting older, but World Peace was a good grab for the Knicks. He’s experienced and skilled and will undoubtedly help out when star small forward Carmelo Anthony needs a rest.
Who they’ve lost
I mentioned earlier that the Knicks sent three players to Toronto in order to bring Andrea Bargnani to New York. Let’s take a look at them.
First, there’s Marcus Camby. The center stands almost seven feet tall and has 17 years in the NBA under his belt. Last season, he averaged 1.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 10.4 minutes per game.
Small forward Steve Novak has seven years in the league. For his 2012-13 season, he averaged 6.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per 20.3 minutes.
Then, there’s Quentin Richardson. He’s a small forward with 13 years in the NBA behind him. Last season, Richardson appeared in one regular season game and notched five points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of game play. He also put up a terrible field-goal percentage of .091.
So, who have we lost in this trade? An old, decent center whose numbers will probably be replaced by those of Bargnani; a small forward who doesn’t quite measure up to World Peace; and a small forward who can rebound but can’t shoot at all. Sending these players to Toronto was not a huge loss for New York, however the draft picks they also lost in the trade may have helped them acquire some younger talent in the future.
New York also bid farewell to Chris Copeland, who signed a deal with the Indiana Pacers during free agency. Copeland isn’t a huge loss, either; last season, he averaged 8.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 15.4 minutes per game.
What they’re missing
Unfortunately, what the Knicks are missing, and have missed, in their effort to rebuild is money. They have very little cap space, which is why they have only been able to make select moves this offseason to change and update their roster.
Hopefully, their risk on Bargnani and decision to give Metta World Peace a chance will prove beneficial to the squad. Though I believe in World Peace’s talent, I think Bargnani definitely needs to prove himself. Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire are one year older than they were last season, which brings into question their ability to deliver as they did in 2012-13.
I project the Knicks have a less stellar record than they did last year. For 2012-13, they won 54 and lost 28, coming in first in the Atlantic Division and ultimately losing in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Indiana Pacers.
For 2013-14, I predict the Knicks will finish with a record of 48-34.