You're crazy if you think the Knicks are playing Carmelo Anthony at small forward.
'Melo experienced too much success in New York's floor-spacing dynamic to justify butchering it next season. Even if he's announced as the starting 3, he'll be playing the 4.
Truth be told, I waffled between whether the Knicks would start two point guards or even World Peace. Then I realized that bringing Bargnani (as opposed to World Peace) off a bench that already included J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire would be an active admittance the Knicks won't be playing defense next year.
Bargs stretches the floor like small forwards are supposed to and standing seven-feet off the ground, he's someone who can guard opposing power forwards so 'Melo won't have to. It won't always be pretty—well, it will never be pretty. But the Knicks must do anything to keep Anthony away from the elbows, shoulders and burly bodies of power forwards on the defensive end.
Think of Bargs as a sacrificial lamb. When on the floor with Anthony, he'll shoot nothing but threes on offense—36.1 percent from beyond the arc for his career—while taking the defensive assignment his teammate's body shouldn't be forced to withstand.
Which brings us to Paul Pierce, who is pushing 36 and still dwarfs Bargs' ceiling.
Assuming Bargs could match Pierce's point total (eh), he's nowhere near as versatile as The Truth. It was Pierce who shouldered Boston's playmaking duties when Rajon Rondo went down. And it's him who can defend, rebound, score in the post and do just about everything else better than Bargs.
Notching 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists at 35 is no small feat. Only three other players in NBA history, aged 35 or older have done the same. Disappointing No. 1 picks aren't liable to topple a player who has put himself in the company of Karl Malone, Elgin Baylor and Larry Bird.
Opposite Anthony, the results would be different. Up against Bargs, the future Hall of Famer towers over a statistically and physically unsound seven footer.