The Knicks have made several acquisitions this offseason to build one of the deepest teams in the league. Any one of those acquisitions can be the X-factor for the Knicks this season, but they can only be so if they are on the court. That responsibility falls on the shoulders of Mike Woodson.
Woodson has to figure out who to play and when to play them. His task begins with determining a starting lineup. Right now, Woodson has not decided who will start except for Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler (Via ESPNNewYork’s Jared Zwerling).
That leaves two spots open and Woody will take his time in making his decision. Via CBSSports.com’s Matt Miller, Woodson will use training camp to reach a conclusion:
That’s what we use camp for. I have no idea who's going to start. Camp should be pretty competitive based on the talent, and that's how it should be.
Aside from choosing a starting lineup, Woody has to establish a rotation to play behind the starters. This will not be an easy task, as the Knicks have tremendous depth to the point where playing time will not be guaranteed (via ProBasketballTalk.com)
But minutes or even positions won’t be guaranteed next year, because New York has added some key pieces this summer that the team hopes will take them deeper into the postseason.
Woodson needs to figure out which reserve players can fit in well with the starters and which will only be part of the second unit.
For example, there is no reason to believe Metta World Peace can not fit in with the starters, as he is a defensive threat and does not demand the ball on the offensive end.
However, there are questions as to whether Andrea Bargnani’s game will mesh with ‘Melo’s. The popular opinion is that his three-point shooting will help with spacing and still allow the reigning scoring champion to operate in the post, but the only way to know for sure is to put them on the court together and find out.
And then, of course, there is still the question of Amar’e Stoudemire. Woodson needs to see when he can put him in the game without disrupting any flow created by the starters on both ends of the court.
Woodson needs to use training camp and the preseason to see how the new players fit in. The preseason will also allow him to see how rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. can blend in with this team.
We can speculate about the roster and rotation all we want, but the decision is ultimately Woodson’s; he is, after all, the head coach. Making the wrong decisions regarding the rotation can mess with the team’s chemistry—making the right ones can lead to a championship. That is why Mike Woodson is the Knicks’ X-factor this year.