The Rotation Situation: Which Knicks Line-Up Has The Highest Chance Of Success?

Michael KelleyContributor ISeptember 3, 2010

I've just recently read an interesting piece on the rotation situation we'll be dealing with come October. We've been pondering this for quite some time now and rightfully so with all the new acquisitions acquired during the off season. Is D'Antoni going to break his short rotation habit? It looks this way because the depth of our roster has to be used. D'Antoni is going to be forced to lengthen the amount of players in his rotation. Here are Jamey Adelson's top three rotations and two of my own.

1. C: Turiaf/Stoudemire/Mozgov
PF: Stoudemire/Randolph
SF: Gallinari/Walker
SG: Chandler/Azubuike/Mason
PG: Felton/Douglas

This line-up is lacking rebounding and defense. Turiaf brings that shot blocking presence we’ve been lacking for god knows how long, but we’re small. We’re going to need to find a way to contain the opposition from getting easy buckets inside the paint.

I agree with Adelson on all points besides the defense. We have solid defensive players with this rotation. Don't get me wrong, there aren't any defensive gurus in that rotation but together they could play exceptional defense. I wouldn't be too worried that teams are going to get basket after basket in the paint with these guys on the floor. If we establish continuity our defense shouldn't be much of a problem with this rotation. 

2. C: Stoudemire/Turiaf
PF: Randolph/Stoudemire
SF: Gallo/Walker
SG: Azubuike/Chandler/Mason
PG: Felton/Douglas

With this projected line-up, both our front and backcourt will allow for a "skys the limit" potential and unlimited athleticism. Felton has the speed and handling to run the pick n roll as many times as he wants with STAT. If both become Batman and Robin in that kind of play, Gallo is going to get a lot more open looks, which we know is automatic when he’s wide-open.

I agree with the statement 100% but starting Stoudemire at Center is something we can avoid. I see this as a way to get Stoudemire on the court with Randolph at the same time as they are the main pieces in the "skys the limit" athleticism approach. I'm not against having Stoudemire at the 5 but starting him there isn't a must when we have Turiaf and Mozgov. There are other ways to get Stoudemire and Randolph on the floor together.

3. C: Stoudemire/Turiaf
PF: Randolph/Stoudemire
SF: Gallo/Chandler/Walker
SG: Mason/Azubuike
PG: Felton/Douglas

Obviously the name that sticks out is Roger Mason at the SG position. Call me crazy but the kid can flat out shoot the ball. During the 08-09 season, Mason started 71 of the 82 games played in San Antonio, primarily because of his clutch shooting performances and his 42% from beyond the arc. He only started five games last year but with the emergence of George Hill, it was hard for him to seek any playing time at all. Lets put it this way, if you’re a lifetime shooter of 40% from three point range, D’Antoni is going to love you.

Stoudemire at Center again, why Jamey why!? I'm no pro by anyone's standards but I just don't see the need to start him there. He can play at the Center position but when he doesn't have to why put him there? Let's see how Turiaf and Mozgov handle the load before we do that. Mozgov has only appeared in one of these rotations but I think he should be in all of them. Mozgov is pretty much guaranteed playing time unless he gets injured or disgusts the coaching staff to the point where they won't give him a shot in a game whatsoever. Mozgov has a three year contract with the last 2 years non guaranteed, you can bet your ass he'll be seeing playing time this year to prove his worth. If he blows, we'll just get rid of him in the offseason, that's why the contract is the way it is. He has this year to prove himself and earn his stay. No way doesn't he make the rotation. Moving on, Mason is a great add in my book but unless Azubuike isn't 100% I would rather he come off the bench. He's a great shooter but Azubuike does it all, I rather see how Azubuike does with the starters first before Mason gets a shot. Coming off the bench Azubuike could be a candidate for 6th man of the year with this offense though. Decisions decisions...

Here are two of my suggestions. Update: After thoughts of zone defense came up. I thought of a nice line-up to add height and a good zone defense player in 6'6 Andy Rautins. If Rautins continues his inconsistent play that we witnessed during the Summer League we could bring in 6'5 Mason Jr. The only thing that Rautins has over Mason is experience in the zone which is why I placed him in the one slot. This new lineup is even taller then my previous one. Thoughts? Mason or Rautins? Neither? I'm not saying start these guys, but get them on the court together.

4. C: Mozgov/Turiaf                                        C: Mozgov/Turiaf                                
PF: Stoudemire/ Gallinari/Randolph        PF: Stoudemire/Gallinari/Randolph 
SF: Randolph/Chandler                             SF: Randolph/Chandler                       
SG: Gallinari/Azubuike/Mason                SG: Gallinari/Azubuike                        
PG: Felton/Douglas                                   PG: Rautins/Mason                               

This is my wild card rotation. Serious game planning is needed to find a way to stop a lineup this big. Gallinari at the 2 on defense is a big question mark and guards would have the speed advantage on him but on the offensive side Gallinari would be too big. Plus with all the hyper fierceness around him he can quietly sit outside and wait for the open three's to pour in. The super athletic rotations above with Stoudemire at Center are the safer route to go to achieve global athletic dominance but this alternative may catch teams off guard. This is the type of rotation that deserves a nickname. Remember, rotations/formations with nicknames scare people.

5. C: Turiaf/Mozgov
PF: Stoudemire/Randolph
SF: Gallinari/Chandler
SG: Azubuike/Mason/Chandler
PG: Felton/Douglas

I honestly believe that this will be the official line-up come opening day. Turiaf, Stoudemire, Gallinari and Felton are pretty much set in stone starters. The only toss up there is Turiaf and Mozgov. Will they have a competition? If so, Mozgov possibly has a chance to weasel his way into the starter spot but that's unlikely. This only leaves one position wide open and there for the taking which is the 2. Azubuike may not be ready, no one knows if he would even be the starter if he was 100%. So who fills the slot? Chandler? Mason? WALKER?!?! I think Azubuike will be ready and he will stay healthy. If not D'Antoni puts Mason there. I want to say Chandler would get the starter position if Azubuike was hurt but I just feel like D'Antoni is going to go with Mason and have Chandler come off the bench with Randolph. That isn't a bad thought either, Randolph and Chandler coming off the bench sounds exciting. I think Walker has seen his fair share of minutes last season and instead of trying to tap into his potential, I think we'll spend the effort on someone we're actually planning to keep this season. Walker is as good as gone folks. If Mason absolutely chokes he has a shot, but I wouldn't bet on it. Fields can handle Walker's load and he is going to push Walker right out the door.