Thursday, September 26, 2013
Breaking down the Knicks' small forwards
By Ian Begley
NEW YORK -- Training camp kicks off 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. Here's our analysis of the team's point guards and shooting guards. Today, we examine the small forwards.
Feel free to share your thoughts on the Knicks' small forwards in the comments section below.
WHAT'S NEW: Not much. The Knicks addressed several needs during the offseason, but small forward wasn't a focal point. The 3-spot is one of the Knicks' thinnest positions entering training camp. Carmelo Anthony is traditionally a small forward, but he had so much success as a power forward last season (he won an NBA scoring title) that it's hard to see him playing much small forward this season. When Anthony shares the floor with Andrea Bargnani, putting Melo in position to play SF, Bargnani will likely operate on the perimeter. This leaves room for Anthony to play in the midpost and low post, as he did last season at power forward. New addition Metta World Peace has played both small forward and power forward in recent seasons, so he is a candidate to see minutes at SF.
But as ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh points out in his Knicks player profiles, World Peace is more suited for power forward at this point in his career.
Writes Haberstroh: "It took injuries to Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard to see it, but World Peace is better suited as a stretch 4 now than a 3. He's not much of a shooter on the wings, but he's capable from the corners where he can stretch out the defense and keep it honest."
The Knicks also added C.J. Leslie, though he isn't expected to see significant minutes this season. So if World Peace or Shumpert suffers an injury, the Knicks may have a tough time filling the void at small forward.
HOW WILL IT ALL FIT? That depends largely on which lineup Mike Woodson elects to play: small or traditional.
If the Knicks go with a traditional starting five, they can mix and match with Anthony and World Peace at the small forward. Some may worry that such a configuration would rob Anthony of the mismatches he enjoyed at power forward. But whether he's on the floor with World Peace or Bargnani as a small forward or power forward, Anthony will probably be given the same freedom to operate in the post and on the perimeter that he had last season.
And with good reason. As our guy Haberstroh points out in his Knicks player profiles, Anthony increased his post-up usage from 12.6 percent of his offense in 2011-12 to 20.8 percent in 2012-13, according to Synergy Sports.
QUESTION: How do you feel about the Knicks' small forward situation going into this season?