STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The Knicks finished last season 54-28 and won the Atlantic Division. They ousted the Boston Celtics in six games in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, but were then eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games in the semifinals. The Knicks return several key players from last season's team including Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith. In an effort to build on their playoff success, the Knicks also traded for Andrea Bargnani and drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. in the first round.
PLAYING TIME DISTRIBUTION
Raymond Felton will again be the team's starting point guard and should play 30-35 minutes a game. Pablo Prigioni is battling with Beno Udrih to be the primary backup at the point, but both players could also see some time at shooting guard. Prigioni should play 10-15 minutes a game while Udrih could also see similar minutes. Iman Shumpert is likely to earn the starting spot at shooting guard and should play 20-25 minutes a game. J.R. Smith will serve as the backup shooting guard, but he should actually see more playing time than Shumpert at 25-30 minutes a game. Smith could also see some time at small forward. Tim Hardaway Jr. will also serve as a backup at shooting guard and small forward and could play 10-15 minutes a game. Carmelo Anthony will start at small forward and should play 35-40 minutes a game. He could also see playing time at power forward as he did last season. Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace will likely battle for the other starting forward spot. Both players could also find playing time at other positions. World Peace, if he starts, would play small forward but could see some minutes at power forward while Bargnani could see minutes at center. Bargnani should play 25-30 minutes a game while World Peace will probably play 15-20 minutes a game. Amar'e Stoudemire will serve as a backup at power forward and center and should play 15-20 minutes a game. Kenyon Martin will also serve as a backup at power forward and is likely to see limited minutes. Tyson Chandler will start at center and should play 30-35 minutes a game. Players looking to make the roster as bench players with limited roles include forwards C.J. Leslie and Jeremy Tyler.
Tyson Chandler: Chandler is the heart of the Knicks' defense and provides them with solid rebounding and overall toughness around the rim. He averaged 10.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks last season, but he also provided decent offensive production as he averaged 10.4 points. Chandler should be a solid fantasy option again this season.
Amar'e Stoudemire: Stoudemire figures to be the primary backup at center this season, but he will also see some playing time at power forward. Stoudemire has been decimated by injuries of late and hasn't been able to stay on the court for the Knicks. With his starting days behind him, his days of being an excellent fantasy option appear to be gone as well.
Carmelo Anthony: Anthony will again be counted on to be the Knicks' main offensive weapon, a role he has relished throughout his career. He saw a lot of action at power forward as well as small forward last season, but he is likely to play more small forward this season based on offseason acquisitions made by the team. He was excellent last season as he averaged 28.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 three-pointers. Anthony is definitely a volume shooter, as he averaged 22.2 shot attempts per game, but his shooting percentage wasn't too bad last season at 45 percent. He's not going to provide many assists, but he should still be an excellent fantasy option this season.
Andrea Bargnani: The Knicks brought in Bargnani over the summer to provide them with solid perimeter shooting and depth in the frontcourt. He is likely to battle World Peace for the starting spot at power forward, and that job could come down to whether the Knicks want offense or defense out of that spot in the starting five. Considering the Knicks are likely to have defensive masters Chandler and Shumpert in the starting lineup, and offensive weapons like Smith and Hardaway on the bench, initial thoughts are that Bargnani could start. He should provide solid offensive production and above-average production from behind the arc for his position.
Metta World Peace: World Peace brings his toughness to New York and has a chance to carve out a solid role on the team. There is a chance that he could crack the starting rotation, but he won't see starter minutes even if he does win the other forward job next to Anthony. World Peace is not an offensive force by any means, but he is a solid shooter from behind the arc as he averaged 1.9 three-pointers a game last season. He was also a very good source for steals as he averaged 1.6 steals a game. World Peace averaged almost 34 minutes a game last season with the Lakers, and he is unlikely to match that kind of playing time this season. He will have limited fantasy value as a result.
Kenyon Martin: The Knicks signed Martin late last season after suffering several injuries up front, and he turned out to be a pleasant surprise as he averaged 7.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 18 games, 11 of which were starts. He should provide the Knicks with toughness in the post and veteran leadership, but he likely won't see enough minutes to be a factor for fantasy owners in most leagues.
C.J. Leslie: Leslie went undrafted, but the Knicks brought him in over the summer to fight for a roster spot. If he does make the team, he's not likely to see significant playing time.
Jeremy Tyler: Tyler is likely to miss the start of the season after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his toe. If he does make the team, he will likely only see sparse playing time.
Raymond Felton: Felton put up solid numbers last season as he averaged 13.9 points, 5.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 three-pointers. He averaged 34 minutes a game last season and is likely going to see significant playing time again this season. While he may not be a flashy name, Felton provides solid all-around production and can be a valuable fantasy option. However, fantasy owners will have to live with a poor shooting percentage as he has only shot 41 percent for his career.
Iman Shumpert: Shumpert missed the start of last season while recovering from a torn ACL and struggled when he returned as he only averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. However, Shumpert is a very good perimeter defender, something the Knicks sorely need. After a normal offseason and being even further removed from knee surgery, Shumpert could be in store for a resurgence this season. The one negative is that he'll have J.R. Smith behind him, cutting into his playing time significantly. Even if he doesn't see the kind of playing time a starter would traditionally see, he should still be a solid source of steals and three-pointers.
J.R. Smith: Smith's offseason has been rough. He underwent knee surgery that is expected to sideline him for the entire preseason and likely the start of the regular season. If that news wasn't bad enough, Smith was then suspended for five games for violating the terms of the NBA's anti-drug program. Combining those two issues means Smith could miss at least the first two or three weeks of the season. Smith is an excellent scorer off the bench for the Knicks, but the time he'll miss is going to hurt him.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: The Knicks selected Hardaway in the first round of the draft to provide them with yet another quality offensive option off their bench. He should provide a nice scoring punch, but his fantasy value will be limited because he will likely see limited minutes. However, with Smith out of action to start the season, Hardaway could see more minutes than expected to start, which provides him with the opportunity to carve out a solid role off the bench.
Pablo Prigioni: Prigioni could very well be the primary backup at the point this season, but he's more of a defensive player and doesn't have much offensive potential. Unless someone were to go down with an injury, don't expect Prigioni to have much fantasy impact in most leagues.
Beno Udrih: Udrih was brought in after the Knicks lost Jason Kidd to retirement to help backup the point with Prigioni. While he provides the Knicks with a solid veteran presence off the bench, he's not likely to see enough playing time to be a major fantasy contributor in most leagues.
Andrea Bargnani: In past years, if anyone said Bargnani would be a sleeper they would be met with laughter. The former No. 1 overall pick has averaged more than 17 points a game three times in his career and has been an excellent three-point shooter for a power forward/center. However, injuries have put a damper on his career and eventually lead to the end of his tenure in Toronto. He faces much less pressure to lead the offense as a member of the Knicks with Anthony and Smith on the team and won't be counted on to provide interior defense with Chandler manning the middle. If he can stay healthy, he could provide fantasy owners with a good deal of scoring, three-pointers and also a good free-throw percentage. He won't be drafted as high as he has been in years past, and while he's not going to be elite, he could provide fantasy owners with nice value based on where he can be selected.
J.R. Smith: Smith had a career-year last season when he was named the Sixth Man of the Year and averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 three-pointers and 1.3 steals a game. However, he's already going to miss the start of this season and may see less action with a healthy Shumpert in the fold for the entire season and Hardaway on the roster. He could also lose some time at small forward with Anthony seeing less action at power forward. While he could still have a nice season, he's unlikely to match last season's production, or be worth the price that will likely have to be paid for him on draft day.