Thursday, November 3, 2011
Imagining a Knicks lineup with CP3
By Jared Zwerling
New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul has been spending a good amount of time in New York City these days. As NBPA vice president, he's been present at several labor meetings and he's been palling around with his good friend Carmelo Anthony, like at Melo's M8 sneaker launch party in mid-October.
Not only has Paul been alongside Anthony in NYC, they've been teaming up on the court at various charity and exhibition games. While the All-Star-like showcases haven't been competitive NBA regular-season games, they've offered a glimpse into how good the pair can really be on the main stage together, utilizing the pick-and-roll, backdoor cuts and alley-oops.
And let's not forget about Amare Stoudemire.
It's no secret that Paul jogging out of the arena tunnel wearing a Knicks uniform would lead to a standing ovation at the Garden. Just ask Melo himself. "If it works out and he comes here and they allow him to come here, you'll see a smile from ear to ear," he said. "It's not just me. It's everybody in New York."
You don't need to do much analysis to confirm Paul's potential impact on the Knicks, but NBA Insider David Thorpe has some solid predictions:
On defense -- Thorpe argues that because the Knicks ranked in the league's bottom eight in team defense last season, Paul will have a greater effect on the defensive end. "Both Stoudemire and Anthony need a point guard who can create turnovers and help spearhead good starting position on every defensive possession," Thorpe writes. "Someone such as Paul also can inhibit opposing point guards from playing 5 on 4 after using a good breakdown dribble-drive move."
Complementing Melo -- Thorpe argues that because Paul has a superior knack for organizing and predicting scoring opportunities before they actually open up, he'll be able to get Melo more open looks closer to the basket in transition. "Paul is a genius at getting defenses to organize against a decoy threat (using himself as the decoy) so he can create an even more dangerous threat for someone else," Thorpe writes. "That someone would be Anthony flying down the wing, flopping to the other side and sealing the defender under the rim before taking a pass from Paul and getting the easy bucket or earning a trip to the free throw line."
Complementing Amare -- Thorpe argues that because defenses will have to deal with Stoudemire's versatility to play inside-outside, it will leave room for Paul to score near the basket and beyond the 3-point line -- two areas he excels in. "In the past four years, Paul has made shots within the lane more than 50 percent of the time," Thorpe writes. "With double-teams on Stoudemire, Paul also will have open looks behind the 3-point line, from which he shot nearly 39 percent in 2010-11."