Projecting Each 2012-2013 New York Knick Player's Minutes Per Game

Paul Knepper@@paulieknepContributor IIIAugust 22, 2012

Projecting Each 2012-2013 New York Knick Player's Minutes Per Game

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    The Knicks were very active this offseason. They re-signed Steve Novak and J.R. Smith and acquired several new rotation players in Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas.

    Coach Woodson heads into the 2012-2013 season with a deep and versatile roster to work with. He will have the luxury of being able to mix and match lineups based upon the strengths and weaknesses of specific opponents.

    The flip side of that depth is that the Knicks' coach will have to make some difficult decisions regarding the team's rotation. Minutes will be hard to come for some of the Knicks' veterans, and certain players will be disgruntled.

    Here is a projection of minutes per game for each member of the 2012-2013 New York Knicks.

Raymond Felton

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    Ray Felton is capable of playing 38 minutes per game when he is in shape, as he did during his first stint with the Knicks during the 2010-2011 season; however this time around, he will be sharing the point guard duties with Jason Kidd.

    Felton will be the starter, though it remains to be seen whether Coach Woodson will trust him to finish games. Either way, Woodson will not over-extend the 39-year-old Kidd, and may play the two point guards together for stretches, meaning Felton will play around 30 minutes per night.

    That number would increase significantly if Kidd were sidelined for a significant period of time.

Jason Kidd

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    Jason Kidd turned 39 in March, and his minutes per game have decreased over the past few seasons, from 36 in 2009-2010 to 33.2 in 2010-2011 to 28.7 last season. That trend should continue this season.

    The future hall of famer will be coming off the bench for the first time in his career, and Mike Woodson will want to keep him fresh for the playoffs, a luxury the Knicks' coach can afford with Felton in the fold.

    Expect Kidd to play about 22-25 minutes per game. There will be times when he sees extended playing time based on matchups. His ability to knock down the three-ball—he shot 35 percent from behind the arc last season—will allow Woodson to play him at shooting guard at times as well. 

Ronnie Brewer

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    2012-2013 will be a tale of two seasons for Ronnie Brewer.

    The versatile wing man will likely begin the season as the Knicks' starting shooting guard, sharing playing time with sixth-man, J.R. Smith. His excellent perimeter defense may also earn him some playing time at the three spot. He should average 22-25 minutes per game over the first couple months of the season.

    Brewer's role will change once last season's rookie sensation Iman Shumpert returns from a knee injury sometime early in 2013.

    The Knicks will bring Shump back gradually and Brewer's playing time will diminish accordingly. Once Shumpert is at full strength Brewer will be relegated to a backup small forward, sharing minutes with Steve Novak. There will be nights when he will not play at all and others when he sees the court for 15-20 minutes against more athletic teams.

J.R. Smith

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    Mike Woodson took J.R. Smith under his wing last season, and will continue to rely heavily on the streaky shooter this season. The coach has not declared whether Smith or Brewer will be the starter, though Smith's game is best-suited for coming off the bench and he has preferred that role in the past. 

    He can light up a scoreboard, but is equally as likely to shoot his team out of a game. Woodson will ride him for extended minutes when he is hot, and his depth will allow him to use other options when the shots are not falling.

    Smith played 27.6 minutes per game for the Knicks last season, which is right about what his average was over the previous three seasons for Denver, and should be in the same neighborhood in 2012-2013. He could play slightly more during the first couple months of the season while Shumpert is on the shelf.

Iman Shumpert

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    Shumpert's stellar rookie season ended when he tore the ACL in his left knee during Game 1 of the Knicks first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat.

    The original timetable for Shump's return was eight months and according to Newsday's Marcus Henry, the young shooting guard's rehab is right on schedule. He could be back on the court by the end of December.

    Expect the Knicks to be very cautious with defensive standout. Ronnie Brewer's excellent perimeter defense will allow them to bring Shump along slowly. He will start off playing 10-15 minutes a night with the hopes of gradually increases that number to 30 in time for the playoffs.

Carmelo Anthony

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    Carmelo Anthony averaged a career-low 34.1 minutes per game last season, due in large part to a compacted schedule and nagging injuries to his thumb and hamstrings.

    The Knicks' franchise player should climb back to his career average of 36.2 minutes per game, which is exactly how much playing time he received during his 27 games with the Knicks in the 2010-2011 season.

    Woodson wants to keep his superstar fresh for the playoffs, but can not afford to sit Anthony for extended periods of time because the Knicks are short on players who can create their own shot.

Steve Novak

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    Steve Novak is a one dimensional player and a liability on defense, but his deadly shooting is tremendously valuable for a Knicks team with very little outside shooting. The journeyman forward led the NBA in three-point shooting last season, connecting on 47 percent of his attempts, and the Knicks inked him to a new four-year, $15 million deal this summer. 

    Novak's primary role will be to spell Carmelo Anthony at small forward, though he could face competition for that spot from Ronnie Brewer or James White, especially against athletic teams. The 6'10'' forward will also see some time as a stretch 4 as well.

    Novak averaged 18.9 minutes per game last season, and should be in that range once again this year, with his playing time varying to some degree based upon matchups. That number would increase if Anthony and/or Stoudemire miss significant time like they did last season.

Amar'e Stoudemire

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    Amar'e Stoudemire's days of playing 36-38 minutes per night are behind him. Mike D'Antoni played him too many minutes during the first half of the 2010-2011 season and STAT broke down as the season wore on.

    The ten-year veteran turns 30 in November, has a history of knee serious injuries and suffered through back problems in each of the last two seasons. The Knicks are deep at the power forward position, with Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Steve Novak on the bench, and can afford to be cautious with their all-star forward.

    Stoudemire played 32.8 minutes per game last season and can expect to play around 30-32 minutes per game this year. 

Tyson Chandler

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    Tyson Chandler brought a commitment to defense to Madison Square Garden, and was arguably the team's most valuable player last season. The Knicks desperately needed the Defensive Player of the Year on the floor, but he played with such intensity and aggression on both ends of the floor that he often found himself in foul trouble.

    Chandler was hobbled by toe problems earlier in his career. With his pedal-to-the-metal style of play, Chandler must be adequately rested by Coach Woodson.

    Fortunately, for the Knicks, with the addition of Marcus Camby, they now have an adequate backup who can protect the rim when Chandler is out of the game. Coach Woodson does not need to roll the dice and leave Chandler in when he picks up early fouls. Chandler will play 32-34 minutes per night.

Marcus Camby

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    No Knicks' fan could have imagined during Camby's first stint with the team that the injury-prone big man would still be swatting shots at the age of 38, but the 6'11' power forward/center has experienced minimal drop-off in his blocked shots per 36 minutes and is rebounding as well as ever.

    Like Kidd, his minutes have been scaled back over the past few seasons. Camby went from 31.2 minutes per game for the Clippers and Trail Blazers in 2009-2010 to 26.1 per game for Portland in 2010-2011 to 22.9 last season with Portland and Houston.

    He should average around 20-22 minutes for the Knicks this season, serving as Chandler's backup. He will also play some minutes at power forward, pairing up with Chandler at times to form a defensive twin towers in the paint for the Knicks.

Kurt Thomas

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    Watching Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby battling under the boards in Knicks uniforms will be like deja vu all over again. Thomas returns to New York with 17 seasons of NBA experience. The big man adds a physical presence to the Knicks' front line and can still knock down a 15-foot jump-shot.

    Thomas is behind Chandler, Stoudemire and Camby on the depth chart and his playing time will be sporadic. He will not see the floor against the quicker, more athletic teams in the league, but the Knicks will utilize his strength and toughness against teams with big front lines like the Nets, 76ers and Lakers.

    Thomas will probably average about 10-12 minutes per night. That number will spike at some part of the season if Camby, who rarely plays 70 games in a season, misses time.

Pablo Prigioni

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    Pablo Prigioni is a steady, if not spectacular, point guard who has demonstrated over many years as a member of the Argentina National Team that he can hold his own against elite competition. He knows how to initiate an offense and will not turn the ball over.

    The 35-year-old will begin the season third on the Knicks' depth chart and will not see any meaningful action as long as Kidd and Felton are healthy. However, if either of the two point guards are injured, Prigioni will be expected to step in and play 12-15 minutes per night. 

James White

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    James "Flight" White has bounced around the NBA, NBA D-Leauge and Europe since being drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2006 draft. After playing for Scavolini Siviglia Pesaro of the Italian league last season, White signed a one-year deal with the Knicks this summer.

    The high-flying swing man is a tremendous athlete, best known for his perimeter defense. He appeared to lose his shot at a spot in the Knicks' rotation when the team signed Ronnie Brewer in July, but the 6'7'' guard/forward could steal some minutes at small forward against athletic teams like the Heat and Thunder.

The Rest

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    The Knicks signed 6'8'' forward Chris Copeland to a non-guaranteed one-year deal and 6'2'' guard Chris Smith (J.R. Smith's younger brother) was invited to training camp. Neither player is expected to crack the rotation.

    The 28-year-old Copeland attended the University of Colorado and has spent the past six years playing in Europe, with a short stint in the NBA D-League. The versatile scorer played well for the Knicks in Summer League and has a decent chance to make the team.

    Smith, a point guard out of Louisville, is not expected to make the team. As reported, it is widely believed that the Knicks signed Smith with the intention of assigning him to their D-League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks.

    The Knicks have 15 players under contract, two of which are non-guaranteed deals, and can still sign two more players. Ideally, they would like to add depth at one of the forward positions. Kenyon Martin, Louis Amundson, Josh Howard and Matt Barnes are some of the veteran free agents who could crack the Knicks' rotation.


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