We’re still quite a while away from the start of the 2013-14 NBA season, but the New York Knicks have had a hectic offseason, thus far. And while their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, have made some noise by signing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Knicks have quietly been making some moves of their own that improved their roster; just recently, they signed point Beno Udrih.
The Knicks picked up the Slovenian guard who played for the Orlando Magic, and signed him to a one-year contract. The Knicks, who were limited in cash, got a bargain and bolstered their back court by picking up the nine-year NBA veteran—which they sorely needed after Jason Kidd’s departure.
Udrih, who has the ability to score and distribute the ball effectively, can be a serviceable backup point guard for the Knicks. Udrih has spent his nine-year career moving around, spending time with the San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic. With the Kings, Udrih averaged 12.6 points and 4.7 assists in 228 starts; in his career Udrih averages 9.1 points, 3.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game.
Whether or not the team decides to still use their “small ball” lineup is not yet known, but the addition of the guard gives Knicks coach Mike Woodson the flexibility to use the three-guard lineups that were successful for the team last season. The team saw its productivity increase on offense when he put three point guards on the floor, and Udrih’s skill set adds another savvy passer that can run the pick-and-roll.
Udrih is an above average three-point shooter, has a mid-range game and has the ability to get into the middle of the defense and kick it out; his game complements the team’s core strengths: their three-point shooting, the spread pick-and-roll attack, and Carmelo Anthony’s ISO ball.
Picking up the guard was a good move, but how often will he get on the court? In order to have an impact, Udrih has to play at least 20 minutes like Jason Kidd did. But those minutes may be difficult to come by, especially with the emergence of Iman Shumpert—and who knows how the rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. will perform during the season.
The Udrih signing does give Woodson more options; but, at the same time, it puts Woodson in a dilemma; there’s also the big men: Amar’e Stoudemire and the additions of Metta World Peace, Kenyon Martin and Andrea Bargnani that the coach has to consider. What if the coach changes his team’s philosophy and goes with a bigger, more conventional lineup?