The floundering New York Knicks have acted quickly to fill two vacant roster spots by signing veteran free agents Earl Clark and Shannon Brown, per ESPN's Chris Broussard:
Knicks to sign Shannon Brown and Earl Clark to 10-day contracts on Thursday. That way, they maximize their 10 days and get them for 7 games— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 26, 2014
source: Knicks have agreed in principle to contract with Shannon Brown. That's in addition to already agreeing with Earl Clark.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 26, 2014
Starting with Thursday night's game against the Miami Heat, New York will play seven games in 10 days. They will likely need fresh bodies, given Iman Shumpert's injury and the always tenuous condition of Amar'e Stoudemire's knees. So at least they've put some thought into the actual implementation of these 10-day contracts.
Now, to the players themselves. Earl Clark was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 21 after being acquired in a trade for center Spencer Hawes. Before the trade, he had played 45 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is a perfectly mediocre power forward who is virtually unplayable on offense (-0.4 offensive win shares in 2013-14, -0.2 total offensive win shares in his last three seasons).
Clark also just so happens to play the same position as Carmelo Anthony. Given the fact that coach Mike Woodson has been playing Anthony an average of 40.6 minutes per game in February, perhaps this move is designed to give the Knicks star a bit more rest. It's not like they've been winning, anyway.
If Clark does, in fact, take the court, any help he can provide on defense would likely be appreciated by Woodson. The coach ripped his players for their lack of effort on that end in Friday's double-overtime loss to the Orlando Magic, per The Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring:
Woodson: "We didn't have any defensive presence at all. We played maybe 6 mins of defense this whole game, including the 2 overtimes."— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) February 22, 2014
And as for "PG Shannon Brown," let's just cut to the chase: The guy isn't a point guard. He has played a mere nine percent of his career at the point and hasn't logged a single NBA minute there since 2010-11. To even pretend he is a viable alternative at the point would be a hollow charade.
His ideal role seems to be as a spot-up player that can either hit the outside shot or attack rotating defenses by using his quickness and strength to get to the rim and finish.
Brown is a rotation caliber player in the NBA thanks to his ability to score in transition and attack the rim combined with his solid if unspectacular shooting and defense.
Clark and Brown might have turned into useful rotation players if only the Knicks could have signed them two or three months ago. But the damage has already been done. Per Basketball-Reference, New York currently has a minuscule 4.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. Their season is all but over.
The Knicks shouldn't be wasting their time with this kind of rotational filler. These players aren't young—Brown is 28, Clark is 26—and they have no real upside.
New York would have been better off using their two open roster spots to audition younger players who might be able to help next year's team.
But this team never concerns itself with next year; they can barely focus on next week. The Knicks do not rebuild. They just decay, occasionally picking up veteran pieces in a half-baked attempt to prop up a decrepit structure that should have been condemned long ago.
The New York Knicks haven't solved any of their real problems by signing Earl Clark and Shannon Brown. Then again, they were never much interested in doing so.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.