According to ESPN NewYork’s Ian Begley, The Knicks are hoping the former No. 11-overall pick will give the team a legitimate backup center to play behind starter Tyson Chandler, if he can secure a roster spot:
The Knicks hope Aldrich can fill the void at backup center that was left when they traded Marcus Camby in the Andrea Bargnani deal. The team inked Aldrich on Tuesday after having him in for workouts on multiple days in recent weeks. According to a source, Aldrich's deal is non-guaranteed.
Aldrich’s chances of receiving playing time in New York have increased after Jeremy Tyler went down with a foot injury, via NJ.com:
The former 11th overall pick fills an obvious need, seeing as backup center Jeremy Tyler broke his foot and won't be ready for the start of the season. And since his deal is reportedly partially guaranteed, Aldrich—a true center at 6-11—could rob Tyler of a roster spot.
Tyler was expected to receive some minutes serving as Chandler's backup, but the latter's injury has opened the door for the former University of Kansas star.
While Aldrich has had trouble finding playing time throughout his career, his numbers per 36 minutes show that he has value. According to Basketball-Reference, the big man has averaged close to a double-double, with 9.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Aside from his rebounding, Aldrich comes to New York as an efficient offensive player, as he has a career field-goal mark of .540. Aldrich is also a decent free-throw shooter, with a .711 clip from the charity stripe.
Aldrich will likely fit in very well coming off the bench with offensive-minded players like J.R. Smith and Andrea Bargnani because he does not need to have the ball to have an impact.
Similar to Chandler, most of Aldrich's offensive game is centered around offensive put backs, which are highly efficient shots. His ability to play without the ball in his hands will allow Smith and Bargnani to get the shots they need to provide scoring off the bench.
He will also provide solid rebounding off the bench, which will help Bargnani, who has averaged 4.8 rebounds per game throughout his career. Last season, New York struggled rebounding the ball when Chandler was off the court.
Aldrich's rebounding skills will not only help the bench, but could also help Chandler. If Aldrich can show he can be a good rebounder off the bench, head coach Mike Woodson may be able to rest Chandler more often in an effort to keep him fresh later in the season.
Aldrich will still have to earn a spot on the roster, as New York has brought in other big men to compete for a roster spot, via NBC Sports' ProBasketballTalk:
In the short term the Knicks are looking at someone who could help along the front line (they have 14 filled roster spots, they can take on one more). Aldrich, Josh Powell and Ike Diogu all are going to get a chance in camp to impress Mike Woodson and staff and get that spot.
Aldrich has all the tools to be the perfect backup center for the Knicks this season. He needs to show his strong rebounding game and consistency on the offensive end of the court. If he can, he will likely land a spot on the opening-day roster and make a big impact off the bench for New York.