After a busy off-season, the New York Knicks seem to be closing in to having a definite final roster. There is still the possibility that Phil Jackson will deal Iman Shumpert, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr. to bring in another reinforcement at the big man area. The thing about this offer is that despite of the fact that Shump and Hardaway are pretty good assets, the eventual team would have to endure the ginormous contract of Stoudemire. For a team to do that, they would be aiming the free agency bonanza of 2015 and having an expiring contract would help, but at the same time they would need to be an interesting market to be able to attract a big name at the max contract. It goes without saying that the possibility of that happening is very slim, so we are going to consider that these three players are staying in New York.
Let’s cut to the chase.
The candidates are:
Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Jason Smith, Samuel Dalembert.
Stoudemire has a pretty decent but selfish post play and has developed an efficient jumper from the elbow. He used to be a great defender, but age has made him a little slow against dynamic centers. He still has got his strength though.
Andrea Bargnani is a perimeter shooter that happens to be 7 foot tall. Not a dominant center by any means, he will help spread the floor and hit open jumpers.
Jason Smith is kind of like Bargs. A little more efficient at the post, a little less from the perimeter. He won’t be making many threes, but can play the four and five pretty well.
Samuel Dalembert is the only true old school center. Not creative, not dynamic, not a perimeter shooter, but a big body able to protect the rim, get a lot of rebounds and run pick and rolls.
The starting center will be decided depending on the lineup coach Derek Fisher decides to implement. If he decides to play small ball and really spread the floor, Samuel Dalembert and Amar’e Stoudemire are the real options. Jackson stated in an interview during the Summer League that Amar’e would thrive as center and not power forward. Having Jose Calderon, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert and Carmelo Anthony on the floor would demand a rim protector to make up for the weak defensive prowess of the other three. Shump would be the perimeter defender number one. So when Fish decides to go for that three-point shooting contest, Dalembert would be number one and Stoudemire number two.
For the big ball lineup, with Melo at SF, coach Fish can’t have two non dynamic bigs on the floor, so in that case, The other two bigs would play. Calderon, JR/Hardaway/Shump, Melo, Jason Smith and Andrea Bargnani would be the ideal lineup. Both Smith and Bargs can shoot from the outside and would take the defensive pressure off of Anthony. It makes even more sense when you consider the versatility of Bargs in terms of passing the ball from the post, something essential for the triangle to work. Defensively (especially against driving point guards) the team would be weak, but the half court offense would be amazing.
Small Ball: Samuel Dalembert / Amar’e Stoudemire will bring post presence and defense in the paint with Melo playing PF and spreading the floor.
Big lineup: Andrea Bargnani / Jason Smith playing center or both on the floor at the same time helping the team with efficient jump shooting.