Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Are Knicks eyeing another point guard?
By Jared Zwerling
Earlier this week, Mike Woodson said that he would meet with GM Glen Grunwald after the Knicks' road trip to discuss the roster, which is not only banged up but also hurting for points.
While Amar'e Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace are out for the rest of the regular season with a right knee debridement and fractured left foot, respectively, the team scored a season-low 63 points in a blowout loss to the Warriors on Monday night.
The Knicks' immediate need is in the frontcourt, but here's the problem: There are no good big men to sign. As one seasoned agent put it, "It's pretty much desolate." The dismal field includes Tony Battie, Josh Boone, Brian Cook, Dan Gadzuric, Troy Murphy, Ben Wallace, Hassan Whiteside and Sean Williams.
The most intriguing free agent is Henry Sims, who was recently released by the Hornets on a 10-day contract after playing for the D-League's Erie BayHawks. But a source close to the Knicks said that if the team released or bought out a player -- possibly James White as Woodson is too committed to Wallace -- they would likely not sign a big. That's especially because the Knicks don't want to spend time this season developing the rookie Sims. They're in veteran mode.
Instead, the source said, the Knicks would be interested in a younger, but experienced, backup point guard. That player would build on Raymond Felton's aggressive play in transition and half-court sets to start games. While Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni are wise floor generals, they simply don't have the consistent speed and quickness to get into the paint and make plays.
The Knicks sometimes lack offensive balance from their first to second unit, and without Stoudemire for the long haul, they're going to need more perimeter penetration to create more shot opportunities. Not to mention, Carmelo Anthony's right knee is still bothering him, so his teammates need to make things easier on the Knicks' star. The number of his routine isolation grind-outs must diminish.
The source said that point guard Delonte West makes the most sense for the Knicks. Also available is Sundiata Gaines, 26, who averaged 5.1 points, 2.2 assists and one steal in 14 minutes per game last season for the Nets, but he's not regarded as highly in NBA circles. Another option could've been Jannero Pargo, but he's signing a 10-day deal with the Bobcats.
The 29-year-old West would be the best option at the one spot. Averaging 9.7 points, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his eight-year career, he can score and dish off pick-and-rolls, blow by defenders in the open court and finish, shoot from the outside and swarm his man all over the floor.
West has been absent from the league this season after getting suspended by the Mavericks in October for "conduct detrimental to the team." Since then, he had been acquired by a D-League team, but didn't play in any games. But the Knicks could present an easy adjustment for West who would be surrounded by comforting vets, and he knows Kidd well from Dallas last season. In fact, when West would play backup point, Kidd would occasionally be his running mate, knocking down 3-pointers.
Could that two-man lineup carry over well to the Knicks?