The New York Knicks waived Solomon Jones after just two games with the team, and have now signed wingman Quentin Richardson. The Knicks lack front-court depth, and Richardson is a 33 year-old, 6’6” forward, but this is actually a great move for New York.
Richardson played in New York from 2005-2009, where he averaged 9.8 points per game and proved himself to be an elite man-to-man defender. He can shoot 3’s (his career 3-point % is 35.5%), and has a history with superstars that the Knicks will see along the line in the postseason (LeBron James, Paul Pierce).
Richardson fits perfectly into Mike Woodson’s system- tough defender, good shooter.
The Knicks lead the NBA is 3-pointers attempted (29.0) and made (10.9), and rank fourth in 3-point shooting percentage (37.6%). Clearly, the team relies heavily on its perimeter shooting, which is something that is difficult to count on over the course of a playoff series.
Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith can be expected to score every night. Iman Shumpert, Steve Novak, Jason Kidd, and the team’s other jumpshooters, however, can’t be counted on for consistent offensive production. Throwing in Richardson, another sniper to surround Anthony Smith, and Raymond Felton in one-on-one isolations and (in Felton’s case) pick-and-rolls, adds to the team’s strength.
The main concern for the Knicks going into the playoffs is health, as Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, and Marcus Camby are all dealing with injuries (although Chandler and Martin should be ready for the first round). Basically, every big-man on the Knicks is hurt, which has forced Anthony and Chris Copeland into (literally) bigger roles.
However, the team wins games with Anthony as the Center. New York went on a 13-game winning streak with Chandler sitting for nine of them, but the reigning Defensive Player of the Year will be back to command the paint for the playoffs. Although New York could have filled its 15th and final playoff roster spot with another Center, adding Richardson will pay off.
Throwing in the hard-nosed, 3-point shooting veteran was a great move for a team that is looking to make a run at the James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.