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Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Knicks point guard breakdown

By Ian Begley

Training camp kicks off on Tuesday. To get ready, we are going to take a position-by-position look at the Knicks' roster. We'll have a new position breakdown on the blog each day for the rest of the week. Today, we examine the point guard position.
Feel free to share your thoughts on the Knicks' point guards in the comments section below.

WHAT'S NEW? When Jason Kidd retired, he left a void in two places: the Knicks' locker room and their point guard rotation.

To help replace the void left by Kidd, the Knicks re-signed Pablo Prigioni and inked veteran free agent Beno Udrih. Bringing back Prigioni was a no-brainer once Kidd retired. The Knicks used part of their mini mid-level exception to ink him to a two-year deal with a team option for year three. They got a bit luck in landing Udrih. The nine-year vet signed for the veteran's minimum, agreeing to play for more than $6 million less than he made last season.

HOW WILL IT ALL FIT? On paper, it seems like things will work pretty well on offense. Bringing Prigioni back gives Mike Woodson the chance to play him alongside Raymond Felton in the backcourt. That lineup was crucial to the Knicks' success last season. Once Prigioni was inserted into the starting five in mid March, the Knicks reeled off 13 straight wins.

Just how effective was the Felton-Prigioni backcourt? They shared the floor for 298 minutes last season and the Knicks had an offensive rating, calculated by how many points they scored per 100 possessions, was 119.4. That rating was 10.8 points higher than the team's average for the season.

Also, the Knicks' assist-to-turnover ratio improved by 20 percent when Felton and Prigioni shared the floor together.

It's unclear if Woodson will go with Prigioni and Felton in his starting lineup. But you can be sure that he will use those two in the same backcourt extensively this season. He'll have the freedom to do this, thanks to the acquisition of Udrih.

Udrih gives the Knicks a capable distributor in the second unit. That's key for a team that may have scorers like J.R. Smith, Andrea Bargnani and Amar'e Stoudemire coming off the bench.

The Knicks' point guards should be fine on offense. But there are questions surrounding the team's ability to defend at the point guard spot.

The opposing lead guard averaged 22.6 points per game last season against New York. That was the highest per-game average the Knicks allowed among the five positions. Opposing lead guards also averaged 18.5 shot attempts, the highest among all five positions. That's an indication that Knicks point guards struggled with on-ball and pick-and-roll defense.

Udrih is not known as a strong defender, so based on past history, it doesn't seem like he can help much in this area.

QUESTION: How do you feel about the Knicks' point guard situation going into the season?

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