New York Knicks 2011-12: Searching for the X-Factor

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New York Knicks 2011-12: Searching for the X-Factor
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Can Toney Douglas become more consistent on both ends of the floor?

Most great NBA teams have an X-factor.  They are not an All-Star, they probably don't have a YouTube mixtape or their own basketball shoe, but they are the one player on that team that can change the game by coming alongside of the stars of their team.

For years, Derek Fisher and Robert Horry did this for the Los Angeles Lakers

These players were not perennial all-stars, but in a lot of cases, they defended perennial all-stars as Horry always had to look forward to guarding Tim Duncan, Rasheed Wallace, Chris Webber and Dirk Nowitzki going through the Western Conference and Fisher spent a few NBA Finals chasing Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd and Rajon Rondo around the court.

They would give their best on the defensive side, but what they are most remembered for were their clutch shots in the playoffs as they would help out Kobe and Shaq when they were double-teamed.

As I look at this New York Knicks team, they have plenty of offensive fire power between Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, but who will be their X-factor?  Here are some possibilities:

1. Chauncey Billups

Billups has made a career of defending top flight point guards, being a steady, but not flashy point guard, and killing opponents from beyond the arc.  The red flag here is that Billups turns 35 this season and did seem to slow down last year.  Can he still be the guy that gets the New York Knicks over the top?

2. Shawne Williams

Williams made opponents pay from deep last year.  He is a great asset off the bench, with his shooting and defense, but was not one to create his own shot last year.  Is he the one who will step up and be an X-factor?

3. Toney Douglas

Here is the biggest wild card.  Douglas on some nights is a lights-out shooter who can bury it from deep if he has space or blow by his defender if they play him close.  On some nights, Douglas just looks lost on both ends of the court. 

If he could become more consistent, he could eventually be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, but that is a VERY big "if."

In my opinion, Douglas is the most likely option if he gets his act together.  Billups will still be a key contributor, but if Douglas plays to his potential most nights, he could be a surprise Sixth Man of the Year.

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