With the All-Star break shortly coming to an end, I’m taking a look at each player on the roster and will evaluate their production thus far into the season. The Knicks started out the season as one of the few surprise teams in the league, once leading all of the Eastern Conference before coming back down to earth. They are currently the number two seed in the conference and trail the Miami Heat by four games for the number one seed.
Carmelo Anthony: The engine of the New York Knicks is having a career year. He is averaging 28.6 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He was an early MVP candidate but with the way LeBron James is playing it will be nearly impossible to take the title away from him. When ‘Melo struggles as do the Knicks. The Knicks will go as far as Carmelo can take them. Without him playing at a high level it will be nearly impossible for the Knicks to make a deep playoff run. Grade: A
Ronnie Brewer: Brewer started off the season as the Knicks’ starting shooting guard, but has since lost his job as a starter and is no longer in the rotation. He has been a DNP CD the past four games with Iman Shumpert getting healthy. He has been somewhat of a disappointment. Grade: D
Marcus Camby: Camby suffered a foot injury during a preseason workout and missed the first month of the season. He’s played in just 14 games this season and re-injured the same foot. He was signed to take some of the heavy lifting off of Tyson Chandler’s shoulders but has yet to do that. Grade: C-
Tyson Chandler: Chandler is having a nice all around season. He’s leading the Knicks in rebounds, blocked shots and field goal percentage. He does a lot of dirty work that doesn’t appear and the stat sheet. His grade would be higher if he didn’t struggle at the free throw line (67%). Grade: B+
Chris Copeland: Copeland hasn’t had a lot of playing time, but when ‘Melo went down with an injury Copeland played pretty well. He could be getting a lot of playing time on another team, but just a depth player on the Knicks. He is a player a team could want around the trade deadline. Grade: B-
Raymond Felton: Felton started off the year on a tear but has since cooled down. He began struggling from the field prior to injuring his pinkie finger and missed nearly a month. Felton needs to be the number two scoring option on the starting team for the Knicks to be successful. His play with be key in the second half of the season. Grade: B
Jason Kidd: Kidd started out the season very strong, hitting a game winner against his former team the Nets, but has since lost his touch from behind the arc. He’s currently starting to show his age, however. He’s hit just 10 of his last 50 three point attempts. If he could find his stroke he could be a huge asset down the stretch. Grade: C+
Steve Novak: Novak re-signed with the Knicks this off-season for four years and $15 million. He is among the league leaders in three point shooting percentage, but has games where you wouldn’t know that he was on the floor. He’s not the type of player that can create his own shot and that makes it so he can be ineffective at times. He stretches the floor but I’m sure the Knicks would like him to add an element to his game. Grade: C+
Pablo Prigioni: Prigioni came to the Knicks from Argentina to be the third string point guard this off-season. He’s held his own in the NBA. A sneaky defender that looks to distribute. At times he passes up too many open shots to make him a threat on offense. Most teams would be more than content with him as their third string PG. Grade: C+
Iman Shumpert: Coming off of a major knee injury, Shumpert hasn’t played up to speed since returning this year. He was known as one of the best on the ball defenders in the league as a rookie, but has yet returned to form. Tearing an ACL is a major injury for anyone in sports. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one until he gets a few more games under his belt.
J.R. Smith: Smith was looking like one of the favorites for Sixth Man of the Year early in the season, but with Jamal Crawford playing at such a high level it may not be his year. He’s played well for the Knicks, but as of late he’s been settling for far too many threes. He’s very athletic and can be a ball stopper at times, but he is a much needed spark for the Knicks off the bench. Grade: B
Amar’e Stoudemire: This was supposed to be the year that the Knicks had a full training camp to practice together. That wouldn’t be the case, as Stoudemire went down with a knee injury. No one knew what to expect from Stoudemire when he came back. Head coach Mike Woodson chose to bring STAT off the bench and Stoudemire fully accepted the role. He has shown flashes of his old self at times during the season. If he gets it clicking with the second unit this could be a dangerous team come playoff time. Grade: B-
Kurt Thomas: Old man Kurt has gotten a little burn, due mainly to the Knicks’ bigs getting banged up. He’s been what the Knicks brass thought he would be: a big body that’s on the lower tier of the depth chart. He’s a depth guy that can still give you a few quality minutes when called upon. Grade: C
Rasheed Wallace: Coming out of retirement to rejoin coach Mike Woodson, no one knew what to expect from Rasheed Wallace. He was actually playing at a high level defensively, hitting the occasional three here and there. His impact wasn’t as much on offense as it was on defense. Though his production (or his technical fouls) won’t show up on the box score, the Knicks were a better team with him on the floor. He exceeded my expectations. Grade: B
James White: White, one of the best dunkers in the world in his prime (youtube him), hasn’t had a big body of work to come to any sort of conclusion. He’s definitely got the athletic ability to be in a rotation in the NBA. If judging by production his grade would be low. We just haven’t seen enough of him to make judgement. Grade: Inconclusive