As many Knicks fans know, the Knicks have made major changes this summer. The Knicks have made a major overhaul, except keeping the core of ATM feat Mobb Deep. Even with keeping the core in tact, some questions still needed to be answered such as: Will the Knicks bring back their other ‘to be free agents’? What moves will the Knicks make this off-season to avoid another first round exit? Will the Knicks bring in Steve Nash, Ray Allen, or any other free agents? The Knicks have addressed issues with the bench and the starting PG. With this series of moves, they have also stuck to one focus: Championship or Bust. They have brought a new variety of young and veteran players to build a championship contending team.
One-Two Guards Starring: Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd
With questions being asked after their pre-mature post season exit, the Knicks needed to do something. They faced the question of: Will we bring Lin back? Is his asking price too high? Or, Can he fit with Melo and Amar’e? With this question needing to be answered, the Knicks decided to wait for Lin’s price around the league. During this time, the team became involved in the Steve Nash drama, and started looking for other available/affordable PGs. When the Rockets offered Lin a contract worth almost $30 million, the Knicks’ chance of landing a great PG were slim. They had already lost on the Nash saga, and they acquired Jason Kidd who would take a back seat to Lin. Things became more complicated when Lin agreed to sign an offer sheet. The Knicks then re-evaluated the situation and narrowed the list down to two lead guards: Lin and Felton. Lin had only played 35 games last season, so analysts and sports writers were asking: Is he worth the money? Can his body withstand an 82-game season? The Knicks made a tough choice, but in most fans’ opinions, the right choice. They brought back former Knick, Raymond Felton, who is coming back with something to prove after a disappointing season with Portland. He is a proven point guard that values defense and leadership just like his backup, Jason Kidd. With this one-two combo, the Knicks have all the defense and leadership they need at the Point Guard position. The Knicks have two pick and roll facilitators at the point for Amar’e and Chandler. This combination of guards is a winning, defensive, and veteran one, that can propel the Knicks to a championship.
Defense First, Offense Next
With Chandler, Shumpert, and Smith (becoming a better defender), the Knicks knew they needed more help on the defensive end. With this in mind, the Knicks acquired Jason Kidd, a veteran PG that can play great defense against PGs and SGs (guarded Kobe and Wade relatively well in the 2011 playoffs). They also brought in some help for Chandler off the bench by acquiring Marcus Camby. Camby is a great defender who prides himself on defense, just like Chandler, and he has a little bit of an offensive game too. The Knicks also got defensive minded point guard, Raymond Felton, who says he loves playing defense. To fill Shumpert’s void, the Knicks needed another two-guard that can match Shumpert’s on-ball defense. They signed Ronnie Brewer, who can score a bit, but can definitely lock guards up with his on-ball defense. For offense, the Knicks brought back Steve Novak and J.R Smith and signed veteran PG, Pablo Prigioni, from Argentina. They also signed Summer League Talents: James White, Chris Smith (J.R.’s brother), and Chris Copeland. This Knicks team seems like they have a balance of defensive players, mixed in with offensive players.
New Additions to ATM feat. Mobb Deep 2.0?
The Knicks have yet to be finished this summer. With new rumors surfacing in the coming weeks, Knicks fans may see some more new faces. There are rumors saying that Josh Howard is thinking of joining the Knicks. Obviously, he is not the Josh Howard of old, but this is an “old” Josh Howard who is on the decline. Another player the Knicks are rumored to be interested in is Chris ” Birdman” Andersen, who is well-known for his defense among other things. Both of these players might help the Knicks in many ways down the stretch of the season into the playoffs. We’ll see what the Knicks do in the next couple of weeks this off-season.
With the Knicks getting two great PGs and one decent PG, they really addressed the Guard situation. Felton can run Woodson’s system of accountability and he can break down an opponents defense better than Lin. With pass-first point guards in Prigioni and Kidd, the Knicks can still use some of D’Antoni’s offensive sets. The problem with Kidd and Prigioni is that they are “seasoned” veterans that do not have that much time left in their respective careers. For the Guard issue, the Knicks get a A-. The Knicks also needed to get better defensively because Chandler can not hold down the defense by himself. With Shumpert not coming back until January, the Knicks needed to help Chandler and fill Shump’s spot until he comes back. Acquiring Brewer, Kidd, Felton, and Camby, the Knicks have become a much better defensive team. Bringing back a deadly shooter in Novak and a prolific scorer in Smith, the Knicks’ offense is set. For improving “Knickstape,” the Knicks get an A. Some other things taken into account as far as coaching, the Knicks brought back Mike Woodson, and for that ,they get a B+. Overall, the Knicks addressed every situation they needed. The biggest plus was fixing the Guard situation.
Knicks Free Agency Grade: A-