Who’s Playing The Two? Battle For Knicks Shooting Guard Position


Coming into the 2014-2015 season, there are many questions that still need to be answered in regards to the Knicks roster. One of those questions is the shooting guard position.

With the arrival of Phil Jackson as the President of Basketball Operations—it seemed to be a sure given that the team will eventually utilize the triangle offense. Along with the new hire of Derek Fisher as the head coach, it seems more and more likely the triangle offense will be used by the Knicks.

Of course, the last few times the triangle offense was implemented it featured two of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately, the Knicks currently do not have a player remotely as great as those two. But hope is not all lost. The Knicks still have options at off guard.

It can be imagined that Carmelo Anthony will be most likely be in the role of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in the triangle set —featuring Melo in all different areas of the court. Creating a triangle whether he is in the post, in the corner, or on the strong side wing. The other players from this point will just fill in the triangle, and others areas on the court.

The Knicks have four viable options for the starting shooting guard position. J.R. Smith can be an important asset for the team for the up and coming season. This is because the triangle is constituted on weak side shooting. Smith when in his right mind, is a top 10 weak side shooter. Playing off Melo for most his whole career—he developed into a great 3-point shooter when the ball is kicked to him.

Smith mentioned during the early part of the season, that he has frequently been watching 90’s Chicago Bulls tapes to help him during his shooting struggles. Especially, on Michael Jordan his favorite player. With the arrival of Phil it seems Smith will be revitalized and ready to upstart his career playing under some structure for once.

J.R. Smith averaged 14.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 3.0 apg last year.A drastic drop off from two seasons ago—his best season where he averaged 18.1 ppg and was in All-Star consideration for most of the year. Ultimately, Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year. Smith reiterated once again this off-season that he should be starting this year. With a new a coach it might be possible.

Another option to start at off guard for the Knicks, is Iman Shumpert. Phil Jackson Is known to be very ‘’high’’on Shumpert. A league source familiar with the Knicks reported this telling the New York Post, “Iman is still part of this’’

Shumpert seems to be a likely candidate to start for the Knicks. His ability to defend and crash the boards as a guard, is a very valuable commodity to the offense. We all hope that Shumpert is working on his jump shot and ball handling which needs improvement.

For people most familiar with the 96’-98’ Chicago Bulls, see Shumpert playing the Ron Harper role. Even though Ron Harper was listed as a point guard, he did it all for the Bulls. In addition, he was able to take smaller point guards in the post and cause more matchup problems.

People forget that Shumpert played point guard for most of his career at Georgia Tech. Last season Shumpert averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg, all career lows. Like Smith, Shumpert was an enormous Bulls fan growing up in Chicago and looks to play his best basketball under Phil Jackson.

Another option is rising star sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr. Last season he showed he could produce at the NBA level — contributing right way even though the team was struggling. His jump shot is already elite and his athletic ability is above average considering he is a terrific shooter. Many people see a young Ray Allen in his game. We will have to see what plans Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson have for him, in regards of his role on the team

Tim Hardaway Jr. averaged 10.2 ppg, shot 36.3% from the 3-point line, and shot 82.8% from the foul line. Hardaway also averaged 23.1 mpg, which was one of the highest among rookies last year

The last option for the team is newly acquired Wayne Ellington. People who aren’t familiar with Ellington’s game, need to know that his game will remind you of a poor man Allan Houston.

Even though Ellington only averages 6.4 ppg for his career—he shoots close to 40% from the 3-point arc and shoots close to 90% from the foul line. His old school game might intrigue Phil and Derek, and he might be a factor going forward.

The Knicks will play their first Summer League game on July 11th against the Dallas Mavericks at 4:00on MSG