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Sunday, October 27, 2013
Twitter Mailbag: D, Tyler and rotation

By Ian Begley

Welcome to our weekly Twitter Mailbag. I'd like to take questions from you guys on a regular basis via Twitter and answer them in this space. Below, we discuss the team's defensive struggles in the preseason, Jeremy Tyler, the rotation and more.

@IanBegley Knicks had the worst D-RTG in the pre-season at 102.9. Does that worry you?

— Taylor Armosino (@tarmosino) October 26, 2013


Hey Taylor, this is a great question. In general, stuff about the Knicks doesn't really worry me. I get worried when my cable company calls me with a bill that's past due or when my mom asks when I'm going to settle down with a nice girl. But I get your point here.

I think you can't help but be worried with what you've seen from the Knicks defense thus far. Remember, the Knicks defense was sub-par for long stretches last season, particularly on the perimeter. As you know, they had a ton of trouble stopping the opposing point guard, which was the genesis of most of their defensive issues. Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni -- the same guys who had a tough time keeping guards out of the paint last season -- are back. Beno Udrih, whose not known as a strong defender, is in the mix. So it's fair to wonder if they'll have the same issues this season.

Of course, a full year with a healthy Iman Shumpert will help. And maybe they end up playing Toure' Murry at some point. He showed in the preseason that he has the potential to be a capable defender.

But you have to wonder about the front line as well. Kenyon Martin may not play 50 games and Andrea Bargnani's Andrea Bargnani. So that will leave Tyson Chandler with plenty to clean up. Maybe Metta World Peace can help as well. But there's only so much those two can do.

@IanBegley Why did the #Knicks keep two guards after preseason when the team is deep at the position and could use more "bigs"?

— Danny Guerrero (@DannyG_NYC) October 26, 2013


That's the $490,180 question, Danny. I say that because that's the amount of money the Knicks will pay Chris Smith if he is on the roster on opening night. New York certainly needs help on the front line, especially given the tenuous health of Amar'e Stoudemire's knees and Kenyon Martin's ankle. So you have to wonder why they didn't keep an extra big man.

Toure' Murry had to be kept. And it makes sense that they held on to seven-footer Cole Aldrich. But I probably would have kept Ike Diogu or Jeremy Tyler over Chris Smith because the Knicks need size. But, as Mike Woodson noted, the fact that Chris is J.R. Smith's younger brother certainly played a role in the Knicks' decision. It also didn't hurt that he is represented by CAA, which works for a multitude of other Knick employees.

@IanBegley Odds of Jeremy Tyler getting signed again once healed? Interest of other teams?

— Raindancer's Blues (@raindancers12) October 26, 2013


If I had to bet, I'd probably put money on Tyler signing with the Knicks. New York was high on Tyler after his strong performance in the summer league. But they needed a healthy big man who could play immediately going into the season due to the injuries to Stoudemire and Martin. So New York couldn't afford to roll the dice and wait on Tyler, who is rehabbing from surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot. Mike Woodson said on Friday that Tyler is still several weeks away from taking the court. But if and when he gets healthy, I think the Knicks will re-sign him and cut someone currently the roster.

@IanBegley With Woodson saying he will play 9-10 at most, how do you see the rotation shaping up?

— Brett Barocas (@Barocas3) October 26, 2013


Here are the guys who I think will see regular minutes: Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Metta World Peace, Kenyon Martin/Amar'e Stoudemire.

That leaves Beno Udrih, Tim Hardaway Jr., Toure' Murry, Cole Aldrich and Chris Smith on the outside.

I think Hardaway Jr. will see the floor, depending on the situation and how similar this year's Knick offense is to last season's. If the Knicks bombard opponents with 3-point attempts, as they did last season, Woodson may be forced to find minutes for Hardaway Jr. The rookie showed during the preseason that he can knock down open -- and contested -- looks on the perimeter.

It will be interesting to see how things play out with Udrih as well. He signed with the Knicks on a below-market deal thinking that he'd be part of a three-point guard rotation. But he may end up splitting minutes with Prigioni as Raymond Felton's backup. But if Woodson elects to play with the two-point guard look that he relied on late last season, Udrih could serve as the backup and play more minutes.

@IanBegley Is there anything Woodson's yet to promise he'll do that you expect he's already committed to? Ex. Starting Bargs.

— David Vertsberger (@_Verts) October 26, 2013


Hey Verts, I think he's committed to starting a traditional lineup on opening night. And I think he wants badly to start J.R. Smith over Iman Shumpert once Smith is healthy. I also think he won't shy away from inserting World Peace into the starting lineup and moving Bargnani to the second unit if the Bargnani-Anthony-Chandler front line doesn't work out.

The wild card is how Woodson will use the two-point guard lineup that worked so well last season. It's a bit puzzling to me that he'd shy away from using this lineup and playing Anthony at power forward. Both configurations worked extremely well last year. My guess is Woody will play the two-point guard lineup more than he's letting on at this point. I also think Anthony will end up spending a significant amount of time at power forward.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.