STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The Knicks finished last season 36-30 and made the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Although they were eliminated by the Miami Heat in five games in the first round, they were able to finally win a playoff game for the first time since 2001. The Knicks return several keys players this season including Carmelo Anthony, Amaríe Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, but they also have some turnover at the point guard position as Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd will take over for Jeremy Lin. They also worked on creating a deeper roster in the offseason in an attempt to finally advance past the first round of the playoffs again.
PLAYING TIME DISTRIBUTION
Raymond Felton will be the teamís starting point guard and should play 30-35 minutes a game. Jason Kidd will back up Felton at the point and should play 15-20 minutes a game. Pablo Prigioni could also see limited playing time at point guard. J.R. Smith will likely assume the starting shooting guard position and should play 25-30 minutes a game. He could also see some time at small forward. Iman Shumpert wonít be able to play at the start of the season due to injury, but should play 20-25 minutes a game as primarily a backup shooting guard when healthy. Ronnie Brewer will also serve as a backup shooting guard and small forward and should play 10-15 minutes a game overall. Carmelo Anthony will start at small forward again and play 35-40 minutes a game. Steve Novak will serve as a backup at small forward and should play 10-15 minutes a game. Amaríe Stoudemire will be the teamís starting power forward and should play 30-35 minutes a game. Kurt Thomas will serve as a backup at both power forward and center and could play 5-10 minutes a game. The Knicks could also use Carmelo Anthony and Steve Novak at times at power forward when they use a smaller lineup. Tyson Chandler will be the starting center and should play 30-35 minutes a game. Marcus Camby will serve as the primary backup center and should play 15-20 minutes a game. Players looking to make the roster as bench players with limited roles include guards James White, Chris Smith and Oscar Bellfield, forwards Chris Copeland, Mychel Thompson and John Shurna and center Henry Sims.
Tyson Chandler: Chandler finally gave the Knicks a defensive presence down low and was arguably the best defensive center in the league last season. He will be counted on again this season to anchor the teamís defense and provide toughness amongst a group of players that really arenít known for their defensive prowess. He finished last season averaging 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game, providing fantasy owners with excellent value despite his limited offensive game.
Marcus Camby: Camby provides the Knicks with yet another excellent defensive center as he enters his 16th season in the league. Heís going to play limited minutes as a backup and wonít provide much offense, but he can still provide solid block totals for fantasy owners.
Kurt Thomas: Thomas will provide the Knicks with a veteran presence and toughness off the bench, but heís not going to play significant minutes and doesnít warrant much fantasy consideration.
Henry Sims: Sims provides the Knicks with depth at center in training camp, but he wonít see much playing time if he does make the roster.
Carmelo Anthony: Anthony provided fantasy owners with plenty of value last season when he averaged 23.9 points a game, but that was his lowest average since the 2008-09 season. He will be the Knicksí primary offensive weapon again this season and is no stranger to putting up shots in volume, so look for him to be a major fantasy contributor again.
Amar'e Stoudemire: Stoudemire took a major step backwards last season when he finished the season averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds a game, which are both significantly worse averages than fantasy owners are accustomed to seeing from him. With Carmelo Anthony as the teamís primary offensive option again, Stoudemire will likely take a back seat offensively this season as well.
Steve Novak: Novak was a pleasant surprise for the Knicks last season and averaged career-highs in points (8.8), rebounds (1.9) and three-pointers (2.5) a game. The Knicks have more depth this season barring injuries, so Novak may see less playing time and could see his production decrease as a result. When he is on the court though, he is always a threat from behind the arc.
Chris Copeland: Copeland spent the last five seasonís playing in Europe and the D-League and will not see much playing time if he does make the roster.
Mychel Thompson: Thompson saw limited action for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season and would likely assume that same role with the Knicks if he does make the roster.
John Shurna: Shurna will look to impress the Knicks in training camp and will not see significant playing time if he does make the roster.
Raymond Felton: Felton had a down season with Portland last year where he averaged only 11.4 points and 6.5 assists per game. He averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 assists in 54 games with the Knicks in the 2010-11 season, but that was under former coach Mike DíAntoniís up-tempo offensive system. The Knicks arenít as fast paced under their current coach Mike Woodson, but Felton should have plenty of opportunities to dish out assists and provide fantasy owners with solid value.
Jason Kidd: Kidd has seen his scoring numbers decrease in each of the last three seasons and he averaged a career-low 6.2 points a game last season. Heís clearly towards the end of his career and isnít a major offensive threat, but he still could provide owners with limited value in regards to assists, steals and three-pointers. If Felton struggles to start the season, itís also not out of the question that Kidd could be inserted into the starting lineup and take on a larger role with the team. The Knicks arenít going to need a lot of offense out of their starting point guard with Carmelo Anthony, Amaríe Stoudemire and J.R Smith in the starting lineup, so Kidd could provide them with veteran leadership and serve as the facilitator at the point.
J.R. Smith: Smith provided the Knicks with offensive punch off the bench last season and will take over the starting point guard role this season. He averaged 12.5 points, 1.9 three-pointers and 1.5 steals last season, so he should see an increase in value this season as a starter.
Ronnie Brewer: Brewer spent the last two seasons providing the Chicago Bulls with solid defense off the bench and will look to do the same for the Knicks this season. He underwent offseason knee surgery, but it appears that he will be ready for the start of the season. He has limited offensive capabilities and isnít likely to log significant minutes, leaving him with little fantasy value.
Iman Shumpert: Shumpert is recovering from ACL surgery and isnít likely to play until January. Even when he does return, it may take him even longer to return to full strength. He averaged 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals as a rookie last season and is highly thought of within the organization. He could provide fantasy owners with solid value when he gets healthy, but it will take some patience to wait for his return.
Pablo Prigioni: Prigioni is 35 years old and this will be in his first season in the NBA after playing in Argentina and Europe. He provides the Knicks with depth at point guard, but he doesnít hold much fantasy value.
James White: White hasnít played in the NBA since the 2008-09 season and is likely to be on the end of the bench if he makes the roster.
Chris Smith: Smith is J.R. Smithís younger brother and will have to open some eyes in training camp if he is going to make the roster.
Oscar Bellfield: Bellfield will battle for one of the teamís last roster spots and doesnít warrant fantasy consideration.
J.R. Smith: Smith has been a bench player for the majority of his career, but he is going to get a chance to show what he can do as a starter this season. He is a high volume shooter who isnít going to shy away from taking his shot even playing alongside Carmelo Anthony and Amaríe Stoudemire in the starting lineup. He has averaged over 15 points a game twice in his career, even as a bench player, so owners have to be intrigued about what he can do given a starting role. He has the potential to provide fantasy owners with significant value in points, three-pointers and steals while posting solid stats in both rebounds and assists. He could be available in the middle rounds of many drafts, possibly providing owners with even more value considering where he could be drafted.
Amar'e Stoudemire: Stoudemire not only saw his production decrease last season, but he had an embarrassing lapse in judgement in the playoffs where he cut his hand punching a fire extinguisher glass case. He worked with Hakeem Olajuwon in the offseason to try and improve his post-up game, but he is still going to lose shots to Carmelo Anthony and has another year of wear-and-tear on his injury prone knees. Stoudemire should be picked early in drafts based on his name alone, but he is unlikely to put up the kind of production that will be expected from him based on where he will be drafted in many leagues.