Opening Tip: Are the Knicks deep enough?

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
10:00
AM ET
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: With the bulk of the roster finalized, do you think the Knicks are deep enough to make a strong playoff push?

The Knicks have two guaranteed roster spots to fill, but the essential rotation and depth of the team are in place. While Mike Woodson needs another week or so to determine his initial rotation, he already knows the depth is an improvement from last season.

"Last year, I honestly thought injuries hurt us," he said after practice on Thursday. "I thought we weren't deep enough and we got caught. As we went through the playoffs, I thought the injuries really took our team down. But for the most part, we still fought with what we had. The guys that were in uniform gave us what they had, and that was nice to see at that time."

One of the main reasons why the Knicks are deeper is because they needed another year to rebuild after trading away several key members in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster deal in 2011. This past offseason, they had a chance to get back on track -- and did so by adding backups who could start for other teams (Jason Kidd at point, Ronnie Brewer at the two and Marcus Camby in the middle).

On paper, the biggest question mark is: Who will play behind Amare Stoudemire? Rasheed Wallace perhaps? But if he makes the team, that role won't be a sure thing for some time because of his conditioning issues.

Fortunately, Woodson has the luxury of moving Anthony to the four when Stoudemire is in or out of the game. Anthony's strength and scoring ability will make him a menace on the block, and because of STAT's quickness, he'll be able to take advantage of center matchups -- just like he did during his inaugural season in New York, when he was an All-Star averaging 25.3 points per game.

That kind of interchangeability also applies to many other players on the roster. And when Iman Shumpert returns, likely in January, it will further enhance this factor.

While critics are focusing on the average age of the Knicks, they're forgetting that the older players who've started in the NBA for many years are now committed to reducing their practice time and game minutes. That will limit the grind and better enable the team to keep their bench intact for the long haul.

It could be one of the best in the league this season -- and they'll need every little bit of it to throw at the top titans in the East and West: the Heat and Celtics, and Lakers and Thunder, respectively. Tyson Chandler believes the Knicks can be a top-five defensive team this season, and that can happen with their deep collection of talent.

Agree? Disagree? Leave us your comments below.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsC. Anthony 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR