Trading for Andrea Bargnani
Sure, Bargnani was a massive failure in Toronto, after failing to live up to the lofty expectations that come with being a number one pick, but that does not mean for one second that the former Canadian whipping boy cannot succeed in New York.
So what should Knicks fans expect out of the Italian big man? Perhaps a lot more than you think.
Now before we even get into Andrea Bargnani’s game let me just say that he is FAR from a perfect player. Bargnani’s game has gaping holes that make the criticism he received in Toronto mostly justified. The problem with the evaluation of Bargnani’s game is that often we fall into the trap of thinking of him as a failed number overall pick, and nothing more. I’m sure if he was honest with you, even Andrea Bargnani would admit that the worst thing to ever happen to him was being selected first overall in the 2006 NBA Draft. Had he went just one spot lower the narrative surrounding Bargnani’s career would be much, much different.
Which brings us to the present, a present in which Andrea Bargnani will be playing his home games at Madision Square Garden.
When the Knicks announced the trade for Bargnani my initial reaction was “OK, he can help them, but it doesn’t move the arrow enough” and my feelings have not changed at all. But make no mistake about it, the Knicks are better with Andrea Bargnani than they were with Steve Novak and Marcus Camby. It’s actually not even that close.
Many around the league would agree that on paper the Knicks with Bargnani are better than the Knicks with Camby and Novak. All it really takes to know this is to have watched Novak play last year. (notice I didn’t say Camby, because, well, he didn’t play!) Novak is a great three point shooter, but beyond hoisting up shots from long range he brings you nothing. Especially when you consider postseason play, where teams literally make him a non factor by having a defender shadow him whenever he enters the game. Say what you want about Bargnani, who is certainly not as good from behind the arc as Novak, but Bargnani can at least create his own shot, and provides a very solid all-around offensive game.
How Bargnani ultimately fits into the Knicks rotation is really the question. I expect to see Bargnani get around 25 minutes a game off the Knicks bench, and have a nice turnaround season after leaving much of the scrutiny that has followed him throughout his career North of the border.
Signing Jeremy Tyler, C.J. Leslie, and Toure’ Murry
The Knicks did a great job snatching up the undrafted C.J. Leslie this past June. Many scouts projected Leslie as an early second round pick, but for whatever reason the talented young wing’s name went uncalled on draft night, allowing the Knicks to swoop in and essentially get a good second round pick, in a year in which they had no second pick. I fully expect Leslie to make this years roster, but do not expect to see him as a part of the rotation.
Jeremy Tyler and Toure’ Murry were both on the Knicks summer league roster and performed well. Tyler is an athletic young big man who has the tools to succeed in the NBA, while Murry is a promising young backup guard, who could provide a change of pace for the Knicks out of the backcourt. The problem for Murry is that the Knicks have a logjam at point guard with Raymond Felton, Beno Udrih, and Pablo Prigioni in the fold.
Seeing as none of these young players are on guaranteed contracts the Knicks will be able to cut bait with all of them if they aren’t able to help the team.
Signing Beno Udrih
The Knicks signing Beno Udrih is without a doubt one of the underrated signings of the summer by any team, and yes I’m serious.
At this point in his career Beno Udrih will be more valuable than Jason Kidd was for the Knicks last year. He is simply a better player right now than the 40 year old Jason Kidd whom he is replacing. I know that some of you are clutching the walls and trying not to faint after hearing that, but settle down, cause you know its true.
What was really surprising to me is how no one talked about this signing AT ALL! I guess when the Knicks make good moves its not newsworthy since the NBA media’s lemming train only likes to come out to poke fun at this team, not praise them, which was evident by how ignored this move was in NBA circles.
Resigning Kenyon Martin
The Knicks had little choice but to bring back KMart, who adds an element of toughness to their front line. Even though Kenyon is not the player he used to be, his hustle and defense make him a great option off the bench for Mike Woodson. I just cant wait to see a lineup with Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin on the floor at the same time.
Lock your doors!
Signing Metta World Peace
If MWP can stay healthy, this move is going to pay off big time for the Knicks. If Metta finds his way into the starting lineup he can guard the better offensive forward, making life a lot easier on Carmelo Anthony. If Mike Woodson decides to bring Metta off the bench he can play the same role for Bargnani/Stoudemire, helping to hide some of their defensive deficiencies .
Sure MWP is nearing the end of his career, but if healtny this signing can go a long way in helping the Knicks advance further in the postseason.
Resigning J.R. Smith
Had to be done. Period.
People had fun with this signing, further evidence that the national basketball media is incapable of treating the Knicks fairly, and yes I really do believe that.
Lets look at the facts, shall we.
J.R smith is coming off by far the best season of his career, in which he took home NBA sixth man of the year honors. Being paid just over six million per year is pretty standard for an elite sixth man, so I’m still confused as to why the “experts” bashed this signing.
Bringing Back Pablo Prigioni
Even at age 36, the steady Prigioni seemed to get more comfortable with every game last year, peaking in the playoffs where he not only ran the offense very well, but became a legitimate threat form downtown. With the leadership of Jason Kidd across the river in Brooklyn, Prigioni will bring a calming, steady hand to the Knicks offense this season.
Drafting Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway Jr. gives the Knicks a perimeter scorer off the bench to help fill the void left by J.R. Smith, who is rehabbing from offseason knee surgery and will serve a five-game suspension for a violation of the league’s anti-drug policy as soon as he’s healthy. Once J.R. returns, I dont think Hardaway will see much action, but is a nice young piece for Mike Woodson to have in his war chest.