Predicting the Roles and Impact of Each NY Knicks Newcomer This Season
The New York Knicks have done well restructuring their roster with the limited options at management's disposal.
Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin are tremendous upgrades for Raymond Felton at the 1, and Quincy Acy, Travis Outlaw and Jason Smith add toughness and defensive intensity to an otherwise lackadaisical roster.
The organization has a way to go still in terms of building a contender, but the Knicks possess a roster far more balanced than in past seasons.
Let's take a look at each newcomer and what's expected of them.
Jose Calderon, PG
2014-15 Projection: 12 PPG, 7.5 APG, 2 RPG, 1 SPG, 1 TPG.
Jose Calderon will be NY's starting point guard this season.
Although he's very mediocre defensively, Calderon is an excellent leader and playmaker. He's not the best athlete—which is why he struggles at times with his defense—but he's intelligent and doesn't force passes into traffic.
Calderon sees the floor well and makes quick reads with the ball in his hands, which ought to bode well for head coach Derek Fisher's triangle offense.
He's also a reliable shooter who can spread the floor and keep defenses honest. Throughout his career, Calderon has shot 47.9 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from behind the arc.
The Knicks were lost and stagnant on offense periodically last season, but with Calderon at the 1, they will have the direction and pacing they sorely lacked.
Shane Larkin, PG
2014-15 Projection: 7 PPG, 2 APG, 1 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 1 TPG.
Shane Larkin will be the third point guard on Fisher's depth chart but should still contribute immensely in spurts as a scorer and playmaker.
Larkin is an energetic guard who sometimes plays too quickly. He pushes the ball well and has the ability to get into the paint but can be a little careless at times. That could be chalked up to inexperience.
He should learn a lot this season under the tutelage of Calderon, Prigioni and Fisher. He'll also excel in the triangle, seeing as how he's a good scorer off ball handoffs and runs the pick-and-roll efficiently.
Larkin is a tad undersized at 5'11", but his speed and athleticism make up for the couple of inches he lacks. He's an above-average defender and with experience will be able to hold his own on both ends of the court against more talented players.
Cleanthony Early, SF
2014-15 Projection: 9 PPG, 4 RPG, 1 APG, 1.2 TPG.
Cleanthony Early will be a solid scorer off the bench for the Knicks.
The former Shocker has been known to rise to the occasion—he dropped 31 against Kentucky and shot 12-of-17 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc—and he's been eager to start his career.
Early was a little tentative at times during the summer league, but with experience, his confidence will grow and he'll have no problems putting the ball on the floor to score like he did at Wichita State.
He's also an excellent rebounder for his size, which ought to make Carmelo Anthony's life a little easier when the two are paired together in smaller lineups. Anthony was arguably NY's most consistent rebounder last season, and having another body out there with a nose for the ball will certainly help keep Melo fresh throughout the year.
Early's addition to the second unit has the potential to give the Knicks one of the better scoring benches in the league.
In 2013-14, NY struggled to find consistent offense (outside of Anthony), but the addition of Early should remedy those woes. The rookie is an excellent cutter, finishes well around the rim and possesses the ability to create his own shot off the dribble if necessary.
Travis Outlaw, SF
2014-15 Projection: 3 PPG, 3 RPG, 1 APG, .05 SPG, 1 BPG, .05 TPG.
Travis Outlaw won't be asked to do too much outside of his comfort zone this season.
The veteran small forward's job will revolve around playing defense, crashing the boards and running the floor in transition. The only time he'll be asked to score will be off cuts to the basket and putbacks.
Outlaw was acquired to provide defensive stability at the 3 and to lessen the pressure placed on Cleanthony Early's shoulders. Early has been known as more of a scorer, so bringing in a guy like Outlaw whose top priority is defense will help remedy any potential issues that may arise.
Outlaw isn't a lockdown defender, but he's athletic, experienced and smart enough to be a consistent pest.
Quincy Acy, SF/PF
2014-15 Projection: 4 PPG, 4 RPG, 1 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1 BPG, 1 TPG.
Quincy Acy is a tweener with tons of athleticism and defensive enthusiasm.
He's the kind of high-energy guy you want on your team to go out there for 20 minutes a night and cause havoc. He runs the floor well, can finish around the rim and is incredibly tough.
NY played a little too soft last season, but adding a tough defender like Acy to the mix should change the team's demeanor. He won't give you much in terms of offense, but what he provides defensively should make up for it.
Acy plays bigger than he is and isn't afraid to get physical in the paint. Winning teams always need a bruiser like Acy who's far from a pushover.
Jason Smith, C
2014-15 Projection: 8.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 1 APG, 1 SPG, 1.3 TPG.
Jason Smith is a 7-footer with a soft touch and good mid-range game, as seen in his shot chart from last season, per Vorped.com.
The big man is money from elbow to elbow in the paint and should be effective in pick-and-pop situations. He plays with a ton of energy and isn't afraid of anyone.
Smith is a physical player on both ends of the floor and should help toughen up a franchise that has been soft for too long.
He's had some injury woes over the course of his career, and he was even suspended for a lack of judgement (when he trucked Blake Griffin), but in a reduced role he should be one of the many catalysts who help lead the Knicks back to the playoffs.
Samuel Dalembert, C
2014-15 Projection: 6.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 1.5 BPG, 0.6 SPG, 1.1 TPG.
Samuel Dalembert may be nearing the twilight of his career but is still useful for 20 minutes or so per game.
The center is still a competent rebounder and shot-blocker and should do well enough as a stopgap for the Knicks at the 5. Although he isn't capable of anchoring a defense like Tyson Chandler, he is still productive enough to make ends meet in the meantime.
NY will need Dalembert to rebound, protect the rim and use up his six fouls—anything else will be a bonus.
The big man is still capable of finishing around the rim but won't be asked to do much else. Putbacks, alley-oops and backdoor cuts will be how he scores the majority of his points this season.
In 2013-14, opponents made 3.2 of their 6.1 field-goal attempts at the rim against Dalembert, as compared to the 3.5 field goals made from 6.9 attempts against Chandler, per NBA.com.