I think it was pretty obvious that the Knicks' biggest weakness last season was their defense. It’s pretty hard to have a good record when you are letting up 105.7 points per game and teams are shooting over 47-percent from the field against you.
The Knicks have plenty of scoring on their roster, so I think they should focus on finding defensive specialists in free agency. In the draft the Knicks took a great defensive guard Iman Shumpert, so they can now focus on picking up a forward or center.
I personally feel the Knicks are at their best when Amar’e is playing power forward, so I would like to see them go after a defensive-minded center first.
The other option would be to play Carmelo at the power forward and find a great perimeter defender to play alongside him.
Here are five free agents who I think would help the Knicks defensively if they signed them.
Tyson was a force down-low for the Mavs in the playoffs this season.
He used his long arms and great leaping ability to contest every shot the Heat took inside. He averaged nine rebounds and over a block a game to go with his 10 PPG.
He would fit in great on the Knicks next to Amar’e. Having Tyson would allow Amar’e to roam the high post area and get open jumpers, while Chandler takes care of the dirty work down-low. He would also excel in the Knicks up-tempo style offense since he can run the floor well and finish when cutting to the basket.
Behind Dirk, Tyson was probably the most important player on the Mavs in the Finals because he kept the Heat players frustrated all series long. I believe the Mavs will definitely try their hardest to bring Chandler back next season because they saw just how valuable he really is guarding the basket.
Shane Battier is known for his tough defense. He always steps up and guards the other team's best scorer, regardless of if they’re a point guard, shooting guard or small forward.
Shumpert and Battier would really give opposing teams’ perimeter players a tough time if they were on the floor together. It would be really difficult to get an offense started when one of them is harassing the ball handler and the other is playing tight defense on the nearest passing option.
Since they are both capable of guarding the other teams best scorer by themselves, the Knicks can be flexible with their roster, while still ensuring there’s someone to guard the other team’s best scorer on the floor at all times. I think Battier would not only be interested in joining the Knicks but can be a relatively cheap signing as well.
Prince would be an interesting pick. He’s a really good player, but I’m not 100-percent sure he fits alongside Melo and Amar’e. I don’t know yet how I feel about this lineup to finish a game, but, if the Knicks can get him for cheap, I think it may be worth giving it a try.
Tayshaun was on the All-Defensive Second Team four seasons in a row. He’s especially useful because he can guard small forwards or power forwards with his long arms.
You also can’t forget Prince has tons of playoff experience he can bring to the Knicks and once averaged 13.4 PPG in an NBA title run.
The Knicks actually drafted Nene back in 2002 when he was still Nene Hilario, but traded him with Marcus Camby for Antonio McDyess on draft night. They definitely realized that was a mistake and would now love to have him back.
Nene uses his big body to push people around down-low. He is always bullying players out of the paint because he is 6' 11" tall and has a wide frame.
I think he should be grabbing more than 7.6 RPG, but he makes up for it with his scoring ability. He adds the best offensive game out of any of the players on this list. I think him and Amar’e would fit perfectly together, since Amar’e likes to play around the high post and Nene usually doesn’t venture very far from the basket.
Samuel Dalembert needs to go to the Knicks. His style of play is exactly what the Knicks are looking for in a center.
Dalembert’s best attributes are his rebounding and tenacious defense. He is one of the better shot-blocking centers in the NBA with a career average of 1.9 BPG. He is also all over the boards, especially the offensive ones.
As a Knicks fan myself, I really want them to sign Dalembert first-thing when free agency opens. He would come in and fill many needs the Knicks have, while not taking up much of the salary cap. Also, like I stated before, I think Amar’e is at his best when he is playing power forward, so adding Dalembert would allow him to do that most of the time.