Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: If the Knicks keep Rasheed Wallace and also stay in-house to secure their 15th and final player, who should it be?
The Knicks have two guaranteed roster spots left and one of them is likely going to Wallace. So who should get the last call? As of now, the non-guaranteed players leading the way are Chris Copeland, Mychel Thompson and John Shurna.
Copeland impressed the coaching staff during Vegas summer league with his inside-out game and toughness. It matches his focused demeanor. He excelled in the international circuit for several years, so he has a good understanding of point guard tendencies and how to play physical. He showed both of those things against the Celtics, connecting with Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni on pick-and-rolls, and absorbing contact and drawing fouls.
Thompson also heated up against the Celtics, knocking down two jumpers. He showed glimpses he can play off the pick-and-roll and create some shots off the dribble. What further helped his cause is he chipped in with six rebounds and stayed in front of the speedy Celtics' guards.
Like Thompson, Shurna can light it up from downtown, even though he's struggled in the preseason. But his athleticism has come in handy for rebounds, and he can fill the wing well in transition. Just don't expect him to do much off the dribble or on the defensive end just yet (he's been used to a 1-3-1 zone from Northwestern).
Currently, the Knicks' hobbled frontcourt and depleted backcourt have bumped up Copeland and Thompson. But this is not about now; it's about Nov. 1 and beyond. That's why Thompson could have the edge for his ability to shoot the three, create some offense and defend, which are needed from the perimeter. Keep in mind he has some NBA experience under his belt from last season in Cleveland, and assistant GM Allan Houston is a supporter of him since last summer when the Knicks worked him out during the pre-draft process.
Copeland is NBA-ready, but he will have a hard time cracking the Knicks' seasoned frontcourt rotation once everyone is back, including Wallace. Thompson, on the other hand, could get some minutes with only Ronnie Brewer and J.R. Smith locked in at shooting guard. Kidd and James White will also get burn as a two, but it's a more open position with Iman Shumpert out.
Who do you think should be the 15th player? Leave us your comments below.
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