Toney Douglas got the start tonight for the New York Knicks in place of the injured Chauncey Billups. In his place, Douglas scored 24 points and added five assists and four rebounds in his 32 minutes on the floor against the New Orleans Hornets.
Should the Knicks fail to acquire a superstar point guard like Chris Paul or Deron Williams in the summer of 2012, could Douglas find success as a full-time starter?
Let’s start by looking at the numbers:
Considering that almost 90 percent of the time he comes off the bench, his numbers are nothing to laugh at. He averages about 21 minutes, which is less than half a game. This means he could average about 15.3 if he played an average of 36 minutes. For a second-year player, he’s well on his way.
His assist numbers may not be so high, but one must remember he is coming off the bench, meaning most of the time he is on the court with other bench players. Therefore, as well as he may pass, he has lower percentage shooters on the court with him. His assist numbers will rise with experience and better players around him.
Something else to look at are his stats as a starter. Douglas has started 14 games in his career now. These are his career stats when he starts:
As one can see, his numbers significantly improve as a starter. He averages almost 10 more minutes and six more points per game when he starts. Every statistic improves when he starts. In these games his field goal and three-point percentages are fantastic..
In comparison, here are Chauncey Billups’ stats from his third season in the league. He started 41 of 45 games he played in:
Could Toney Douglas be a sufficient starter for the Knicks in 2012-2013?
Though we have a smaller sample size for Douglas, we see that in 14 starts over his first two seasons so far, he has better numbers than Billups had in his third year. This is not to say that Douglas will become a superstar, but Billups is more than a respectable player in the league.
Douglas does not need to become a superstar to lead a successful Knicks team. He will have players like Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields and hopefully an improved big man around him. This hypothetical situation would also come after a year-and-a-half behind a veteran like Billups, who can work with Douglas and make him even better.
Is it crazy to think that Toney Douglas could be the starting point guard for a successful New York Knicks team in 2012? He is progressing quite well through his career, his numbers as a starter are pretty darn good and he has a solid mentor to teach him the ropes for the rest of this season and the next.
Personally, I think the Knicks should use their money in the next two seasons to get a proven and productive center (someone like Dwight Howard) and some key role players around these stars. I believe that Douglas could do just fine as the Knicks’ starting point guard in this situation.
Leave comments and let me know what you all think!