The New York Knicks 2013 preseason schedule is underway, and as always, Empire Writes back is here to break down what you should feel good about, and what should leave you scratching your head in the 2013 New York Knicks training camp preview.
Who’s In: Tim Hardaway Jr. (1st round pick), J.R, Smith (re-signed)
Who’s Out: None
Projected Depth Chart: Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr.
How it all breaks down
The Knicks added sharp shooting rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. to what was already a talented cast of shooting guards, making the Knicks stable of 2’s perhaps the deepest in the NBA. Besides the great depth that drafting Hardaway Jr. provided the Knicks, this group also is one of the league’s most versatile. Depending on how Mike Woodson wants to play it, the Knicks can go big or small by sliding Shumpert over to the small forward slot when the Knicks are looking to get out and run.
If the Knicks go with a traditional starting five, they will likely have Iman Shumpert at shooting guard. But they had success with a smaller lineup last season, which often featured two point guards in the backcourt.
In this case, Mike Woodson can go with a backcourt of Pablo Prigioni at point guard and Raymond Felton at shooting guard or Felton at the point and Beno Udrih at the SG spot.
But with Smith and Shumpert at shooting guard the Knicks have a much stronger defensive presence than they do with Felton or Udrih.
Last season, the Knicks held opposing shooting guards to a 13.5 PER (player efficiency rating), which was the lowest PER among the five positions. Of course, part of that is due to a lack of above average shooting guards in the NBA right now, but a big part of that is the defensive work of Shumpert and Smith, who were both huge factors in slowing down the opposing 2-guard.
To maintain that defensive standard, Woodson may opt to play bigger lineups with Shumpert and Smith at shooting guard and keep Udrih, Felton and Prigioni at point guard.