Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Opening Tip: Finally time for Cope?
By Jared Zwerling
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Should Chris Copeland be part of the Knicks' main rotation?
After the Knicks scored a season-low 63 points against the Warriors on Monday night, Tyson Chandler said "Not too many players got into rhythm."
Put me in, Coach!
But one player did in the second half. That would be Copeland, who goes by the nickname "IGB" -- "I Get Buckets." In his usual quick-scoring way, he put up 15 points in just 18 minutes. Copeland scored inside off drives, post moves and putbacks, and from the outside (he was 3-for-5 from downtown).
"Cope played well," Mike Woodson said afterward. "He's been giving us some positive minutes. He might have to see more time."
Besides Carmelo Anthony, Copeland is arguably the team's most versatile scorer in half-court sets. In fact, when he and Anthony used to play one-on-one occasionally at the Pepsi Center during summer workouts when Melo was in Denver, the Knicks' 28-year-old rookie would sometimes beat him.
Now that the injured Amar'e Stoudemire is out for the rest of the regular season, the Knicks need scoring down low off the bench -- Anthony brings that to start games -- and Copeland can take on that role at times. In addition, he clearly can take his game to the perimeter, where he can work off pick-and-rolls or be a threat as a spot-up shooter.
While Copeland still struggles defensively and with his court awareness -- he had four turnovers Monday night -- he needs to play sooner to give the team an earlier boost. They're hurting for offense right now. You also have to factor in their next four West Coast opponents who like to play at a faster pace. His quick release and sharp moves off the dribble should fit right into the flow of the games.
No more garbage time for Cope.
Do you agree? Disagree? Leave us your comments below.