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Knicks Deep Enough to Be Legitimate Contenders?

Aaron JacobsContributor IIIDecember 20, 2011

Knicks Deep Enough to Be Legitimate Contenders?

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    There is certainly a great deal to be excited about for New York Knicks fans this upcoming NBA season.

    Tyson Chandler has joined current Knicks Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, giving the Knicks one of the best front-courts in the NBA today.

    Two of the Knicks' biggest problems last season were lack of defense and depth on the bench; Shelden Williams and Anthony Carter were seeing significant minutes during the end of last season.

    Rosters in the NBA are coming together as free agency has moved quickly, so every team has an idea of what the roster will look like with games coming up in a few days.

    Let's take a look at the Knicks' bench for the 2011-2012 NBA season. 

Baron Davis

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    Baron Davis is a veteran point guard who has been moved around the past couple of seasons from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Cleveland Cavaliers and is looking for a shot to prove he is not finished.

    Davis has not played a full 82 game season since 2007-2008 during his days with the Golden State Warriors.

    During last season, Davis struggled, but some would argue that it was due to the situation in Cleveland.

    Davis has always been an offensive point guard, and one who likes to get to the basket. However, he also has a decent three-pointer.

    Davis had some very memorable plays during is time with the Clippers, especially on those alley-oops to Blake Griffin. Knicks fans would love to see more of that to Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.

    For the 32-year-old PG, the biggest obstacle will be staying on the court, as injuries have ravaged him the past few years, and he's not getting any younger. 

Mike Bibby

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    Mike Bibby is another veteran point guard whom the New York Knicks acquired to fill some depth after releasing Chauncey Billups. Billups was let go in order to bring in Tyson Chandler.

    Bibby had a subpar 2010-2011 season to say the least. He spent the latter part of the season with the Miami Heat, splitting playing time with Mario Chalmers.

    He played around 26-27 minutes per game, averaged around eight points and struggled mightily in the playoffs.

    Bibby has had a pretty solid career to this point and coming off the bench could be something that could help Bibby by running the second-team offense.

    One thing Bibby has always been great at is shooting the three, and we all know how much Mike D'Antoni loves the three-ball.

    He is a liability on defense, but due to his shooting from behind the arc, he will see minutes during his time with the Knicks. 

Iman Shumpert

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    Iman Shumpert is going to be a bigger part of the Knicks this season than many realize.

    The rookie combo guard is very raw on offense, and one of the reasons why he fell so far in the draft is due to his decision-making on the court.

    However, the Knicks seem to be very high on Shumpert, and at 6'5'', 220, he definitely has the tangibles.

    One of the biggest questions on Shumpert was if he is a point guard or a shooting guard in the NBA. For this season, it seems like he will play a bit of both, but ideally, he would backup Landry Fields and provide solid contributions off the bench.

    Shumpert has three-point NBA range, a pretty good mid-range game, has the explosiveness to blow by defenders and was known in college for his stellar defense. 

    Depending on how quickly he can acclimate himself to the NBA game, he could be a real factor in the backcourt this year.

Jared Jeffries

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    Jared Jeffries will be another key contributor to the Knicks coming off the bench this season. 

    At 6'11'', Jeffries' length gives him the ability to guard almost every position on the floor.

    He might get beat off the dribble sometimes, but he has no problem taking a charge by putting his body on the line. That type of hustle and effort on the floor will earn him minutes.

    He is a liability on the offensive end of the floor, but he will be needed because of his versatility on defense.

Bill Walker

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    Bill Walker will probably be asked to fill a similar role as he did last season for the Knicks, but with Shawne Williams taking his talents to New Jersey, Walker could see his role increase this season. 

    Walker is not great on the defensive side of the ball, but he is pretty good from behind the arc and also showed some ability to get to the rim last season. However, some sloppy play at certain points of last season reduced his minutes. 

    Walker is another one of those scrappy players—similar to Jared Jeffries—and he will give it his all when he gets time.

    Walker will provide decent depth behind Landry Fields and Carmelo Anthony. 

Josh Harrelson/Jerome Jordan

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    Did anyone else see the Knicks' first preseason game against the New Jersey Nets?

    Josh Harrelson popped a three-pointer, but this should be no surprise, as he did some of this during his time in China and at the University of Kentucky.

    Harrelson will probably be a bench-warmer this season, as he is more of a forward than a center in the NBA.

    His ability to shoot will intrigue coach D'Antoni, but he is too raw to play significant minutes this year.

    Jerome Jordan is another interesting player, but again, another very raw player. His 7'0'' frame might give him a chance to play behind Tyson Chandler, but significant minutes are not likely. 

Renaldo Balkman

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    No comment... 

Overall...

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    The Knicks have a very solid starting five, but the bench is questionable.

    Outside of the "Big Three," Landry Fields and Tony Douglas will need to shine in the backcourt, and production from the bench and role-players will need to be high if this team his hopes of competing with the conferences elite.

    In my opinion, the Knicks' bench is in need of one more solid piece to make this team a real threat.

    They lack a sixth man coming off the bench to score points, after all, 'Melo and Amar'e can't be out there all the time.

    For this season though, the goal for the Knicks should be to gel as a team and establish themselves on the defensive side of the ball.

    Hopefully Chandlers' defensive tenacity will rub off on the other Knicks.

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