Ranking New York Knicks' Best Options to Back Up Raymond Felton at Point Guard

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIIJune 7, 2013

Ranking New York Knicks' Best Options to Back Up Raymond Felton at Point Guard

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    Following the retirement of Jason Kidd, the New York Knicks are in the market for a backup point guard, and the position is shaping up to be their biggest need of the offseason.

    If they can re-sign their own free agents, the Knicks won't have too many desperate needs, but a secondary floor general and some frontcourt depth will be essential.

    The Knicks bench really lacked penetration and energy at the 1 last season, with the 40-year-old Kidd and 36-year-old Pablo Prigioni taking up the majority of the minutes.

    Their offense, however, is based on pick-and-rolls and collapsing the defense, so they'll need someone more suited to that next season.

    Essentially, the Knicks will be looking for someone who can bring the same things to the table that Raymond Felton does, in order for the second unit to work as effectively as the first unit. 

    It will be near impossible to find someone as good as Felton, but with the 24th overall pick in the draft and up to $3 million to spend on a player in free agency, there are some options.

    Based on age, cost, risk and how well they will fit into the team, here are the best candidates to fill the backup point guard position next season.

Honorable Mention: Pablo Prigioni

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    Pablo Prigioni was a major part of the Knicks' rotation last season, and the front office will be looking to bring him back for a second year.

    The problem, however, is that Prigioni may be looking for a lot more money this season, after making only the rookie's minimum. New York may have to dip into the mid-level to re-sign him, which could cause problems for the rest of free agency.

    Even if Prigioni is brought back, it's best that he doesn't take the role of the backup point guard. Instead, he should continue to play off the ball alongside Raymond Felton, just like he did last season.

    New York had a 16-2 record with Prigioni starting in the dual-point guard backcourt, so it's clearly the most effective guard combination the Knicks have.

    Whether Prigioni comes back or not, the Knicks should still be in the market for a full-time backup, especially since he doesn't bring too much athleticism or scoring to the table.

5. Josh Selby

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    Just a few years ago, Josh Selby was a high school phenom, but after a tough year in college, he fell to the second round of the 2011 draft, before ending up in the D-League last season.

    Still, Selby is a talented player with good size and athleticism for the NBA. He can play at both guard spot and has a well-rounded game with a penchant for scoring.

    On top of that, Selby is actually a good friend of Carmelo Anthony from Baltimore, which would help him fit in with the team in New York. According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN, Melo was hoping the Knicks would draft Selby in 2011, which could bode well for a potential reunion.

    At this point in his young career, signing Selby would be a low-risk, high-reward move for the Knicks, with the guard likely relishing a second chance in the big league.

    He can be signed with the veteran's minimum or even just be invited to Summer League. If things don't work out, the Knicks would still be able to look elsewhere.

4. Delonte West

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    After a series of suspensions at the start of last season, Delonte West spent the majority of the year at home, but he could still have something left to offer in the NBA.

    In 2012-13, West posted averages of 9.6 points and 3.2 assists, which is just the kind of production New York will be looking for out of the position. His efficient 46 percent from the field would be welcome as well.

    The real problem with West is that he's proved time and time again to be a troublemaker, which will act as a deterrent for most teams. On an unguaranteed deal, however, it may be worth bringing him into camp.

    West's D-League numbers last season were not impressive, but given time to get back in game shape, he could be a productive player.

    This is another low-risk, high-reward option for the Knicks, and if the point guard market dries up, they can fall back on him.

3. Nate Robinson

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    Former Knick Nate Robinson had a great 2012-13 season with the Chicago Bulls, but with Derrick Rose returning and two other point guards under contract, he could be on the way out.

    A return to New York could be a good fit for Robinson, as he certainly brings the spark the Knicks need out of the position. He can score at a high rate and has improved his passing and defense significantly to become a more well-rounded point guard.

    Robinson isn't the most efficient scorer, however, and he may not be the perfect partner for J.R. Smith in the backcourt. On top of that, it will likely take the entire taxpayer exception to sign him, especially after the year he had.

    There's no doubt that Robinson is a premier bench player, but the combination of the price and potential clash with Smith may steer the front office away from bringing him in for a second stint.

    New York could do a lot worse than Robinson, though, and depending on whom they draft and whether or not other free agents would be willing to take a pay cut, this could work out.

2. Will Bynum

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    For years now, Will Bynum has been one of the most underrated players in the NBA while being quietly productive for the Detroit Pistons.

    Bynum averaged 9.8 points and 3.6 assists on 47 percent shooting last season, and e did so despite the Pistons favoring Brandon Knight and Jose Calderon at the position.

    It's unlikely that Bynum will want to return to Detroit next season, and though he could go for the full taxpayer exception, he may be willing to take less to play for the Knicks.

    So far in his career, Bynum has made the playoffs only once, and at the age of 30, he will be looking to make amends for that as soon as possible. 

    With his speed and ball-handling, Bynum is great at creating for himself and others, and he has the ability to finish despite contact in the paint. He's also like a mini version of Raymond Felton, making him a perfect fit for the Knicks.

    As far as free agency goes, New York's front office should be targeting Bynum.

1. Shane Larkin

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    The Knicks could choose to address their need for a backup point guard in the draft, and if they do, Miami's Shane Larkin would be the perfect option.

    Larkin is fast and has an NBA-ready game. He has all the skills needed to develop into a true floor general.

    More to the point, he could be a big part of the Knicks' future, rather than just a short-term signing like many free agency options would be.

    Unfortunately, Larkin may be drafted much higher than the Knicks' pick at 24. He has already refused to work out for them for that very reason. If he falls, though, Glen Grunwald shouldn't hesitate to bring him in.

    New York may be wise to try and trade up for Larkin, but the Knicks don't have many assets. Trading away Steve Novak and a future pick may do the trick, but that's probably wishful thinking.


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