Thursday, March 7, 2013
Opening Tip: What about K-Mart?
By Ian Begley
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Given the Knicks' 18-game March schedule, does Mike Woodson need to expand his rotation? Would you like to see Kenyon Martin get more minutes?
The Knicks woke up Thursday morning in second place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Pacers.
As we all know, New York's best path to the Eastern Conference finals is to finish second in the East, thereby avoiding the Heat in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
That means staying ahead of a talented Indiana squad.
To do so, they have to make it out of a tough March schedule with their heads above water.
Mike Woodson said he has pondered the idea of expanding the Knicks' rotation this month.
The chances of that happening would increase if Mike Woodson expanded his rotation.
Through the first four games of the Knicks' manic March, that hasn't happened.
So Woodson has relied heavily on six players (Melo, Amar'e, Chandler, Felton, Kidd, J.R.) to eat the bulk of the minutes.
With a brutal schedule looming, this has to change -- immediately.
On Thursday, the Knicks will play their fifth of 18 games in March.
They have six sets of back to backs this month. The OKC game will be the second end of their second back to back of March.
So it would make sense for Woodson to open up his rotation. It's hard to understand why Martin's played just five minutes in his first six games with the team. If nothing else, he can help the Knicks' interior defense in the second unit, as can Camby, who appears to be working his way into shape.
Copeland's been buried in the coach's doghouse. But the Knicks could use him to eat some minutes this month.
Because Kidd, 39, can't play 32 minutes a night, Anthony's suffering from wear and tear after after playing 37.8 minutes a night in the first 57 games of the year. And Woodson can't lean on Stoudemire, who is on a minutes limit (30) via the Knicks' medical staff.
So, eventually, Woodson will have to expand his rotation. He knows this.
Here's what the coach said last Saturday when asked about managing his players' minutes during the Knicks' tough March schedule.
"We've got to watch that closely," he said. "Guys who don’t play very many minutes, we've still got to make sure they’re in condition so they can stay up to speed just in case they have to play. The guys who are playing, we got to somehow...figure out different rotations in terms of resting guys."
Outside of bringing Kidd off of the bench, that hasn't happened yet.
If the Knicks want to make it out of their own version of March Madness, Woodson should probably change that.
QUESTION: Do you think Woodson needs to expand his rotation? Should Kenyon Martin start to play regular minutes?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.