Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Opening Tip: Crawford or Williams?
By Jared Zwerling and Ian Begley
Every morning throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip."
Today's Burning Question: Which player would be a better fit in the second unit, former Knick Jamal Crawford or Shawne Williams, who was recently a Knick?
On Monday, Glen Grunwald said he would love to have Crawford back. Then on Tuesday, Mike D'Antoni said he would love to have Williams back. But even with the holiday season upon us, both desires won't be fulfilled.
In fact, it's possible that neither happens because both players are seeking more expensive multiyear extensions than what the Knicks can offer. Crawford is also attracted to Portland and Sacramento; Williams is also weighing the Nets and a few other teams.
But, if one of the wishes could come true, which player would you rather have?
ZWERLING: GET CRAWFORD
Since training camp opened Friday, the dominant storyline has centered around the Knicks' starting point guard position. But a close second is -- just that -- the second unit.
More specifically, who's going to be the immediate scoring threat off the bench? Mike Bibby? Bill Walker? Iman Shumpert? Jared Jeffries? None of them. (At least Shumpert and Jeffries will have defense covered.)
Shawne Williams wouldn't be that guy either. He's a one-dimensional scorer -- a spot-up 3-point specialist, usually from the corner. While Williams is a more versatile defender than Crawford, the Knicks need a versatile scorer in their second unit. Crawford would be the second or third option when Carmelo Anthony and/or Amare Stoudemire are sitting.
While some Knicks fans remember Crawford as a chucker -- he hovered around 40 percent shooting in his four seasons in New York -- he improved his accuracy in Atlanta. He also had one of his best seasons with the Hawks. In 2009-10, Crawford shot 44.9 percent from the field and averaged 18.0 points per game, en route to earning the Sixth Man Award.
BEGLEY: KEEP WILLIAMS
If you want Jamal Crawford, you're going to have to give up players in a sign-and-trade to get him. (I'd be shocked if he accepts the Knicks' $2.5 million exception.)
It's been widely reported that the Knicks would have to give up Toney Douglas to get Crawford. So you're telling me it's smart to give up one of your most talented defenders (Douglas) -- on a team that doesn't have much defensive talent outside of Tyson Chandler -- for a guy who plays next to no defense (Crawford)? That leaves Mike Bibby as your starting point guard. I just don't see the logic.
So bring back Williams. He knocked down 40.1 percent of his 3-point attempts last season and was a versatile defender. He makes the most sense for this roster. By the way, imagine Amare Stoudemire,Carmelo Anthony and Crawford on the floor together trying to play defense without Chandler? That has to be Mike Woodson's worst nightmare.