Top 5 Players on New York Knicks Auditioning To Be Carmelo Anthony’s No. 2 Option
New York Knicks' Top 5 Scoring Options Behind Carmelo Anthony
It has been a long summer for the New York Knicks since their unforeseen ouster from the playoffs courtesy of the Indiana Pacers. Their play in that series left many questions unanswered going into this offseason. Is Tyson Chandler ever going to fully recover from the butt-whipping he suffered from the hands of Roy Hibbert? Can you count on J.R. Smith with club antics and all to guide you to success in the postseason? Is Raymond Felton truly the answer at point guard or do the Knicks need to look in a superstar’s direction? The biggest question that was posed was will anyone ever step in as Carmelo Anthony's sidekick to alleviate pressure on the superstar?
Even the greatest in the game, LeBron James, couldn’t win a title by himself. That was on full display during his time in Cleveland when he willed the Cleveland Cavaliers to the best record in the league only to fall short. Michael Jordan, as great as the pantheons make him, wasn’t a champion until the Chicago Bulls bamboozled Seattle into trading Scottie Pippen for Olden Polynice. Even legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar needed Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson.
The Knicks have to find a consistent piece to take the burden away from the returning league’s leading scorer. Most nights, Anthony sees double teams and it’s up to either young players developing into that guy or a veteran having an injury free season to aid the prodigious scorer in securing victories. Here are the top five candidates applying for the job.
5) Raymond Felton
Previous Resume – 2005 NCAA champion, led team in assist 5.5
Felton is the classic case of when you award the most stable employee to a job that puts him out of his element. Felton is a great floor general and has had games where he has led the Knicks in scoring, but he is not equal to the task of being Anthony’s running mate. A legitimate starter but not a star, Felton should be commanding the offense more than being a scorer.
4) Amar’e Stoudemire
Previous Resume - NBA Rookie of the Year, 6-time NBA All-Star, One All-NBA first team, 4-time All-NBA second team
If this was the Amar’e Stoudemire of two years ago you could make a case for him to be Carmelo’s Robin, but alas we all know that it isn’t. The present day Stoudemire is a 16 to 20 minute a game guy who can put up double figures before he breaks down. Stoudemire hasn’t played a full season since 2011 and his contract, which remains a Knicks albatross, is still uninsured. If Stoudemire has to ascend to the second scorer role you can expect a first round exit from the Knicks.
3) Andrea Bargnani
Previous Resume – First overall pick in 2006, 2010 -2011 averaged 21.2 points a game, 2011 -2012 averaged 19.5 points a game, NBA All-rookie first team
Bargnani brings a scoring presence to the perimeter in the front court that the Knicks previously lacked. He is an adept shooter who can take slower defenders off a dribble. He has been the leading scorer for bad teams before but has never had to score for a contender. The fact that he crumbled under the leadership of Duane Casey last year with the Toronto Raptors indicates the Knicks would be better letting him fit into a role than become a breakout star.
2) Iman Shumpert
Previous Resume - NBA All-Rookie First Team, 9.3 points per game in postseason
Shumpert's continual growth is the thing that most Knick fans will pay attention to this season. His on the ball defense is still superb, but it is his improving jump shots and his regained athleticism after an ACL injury that will keep fans confident that Shumpert can shoulder a heavier load. Though he is expected to compete for a starting job, the third year swing man will undoubtedly demand starters' minutes for coach Mike Woodson.
1) J.R. Smith
Previous Resume – Returning NBA sixth man of the year, Career high in points last season at 18.1 points per game
The fact that this remains the Knicks' best option behind Carmelo has turned some fans into Nets fans and just made others sick. J.R. Smith, who manages to make John Starks look like Derek Fisher, is back, and all the antics, celebrity dating and twitter beefs that come along with him are back in the fold for the Knicks this season. He showed growth at the end of last season by becoming more of a penetrator at the end before reverting back to a jump shooter in the postseason. He may not even be in the lineup to begin next season, but rest assured he will be Carmelo’s second option once they start playing together.
Truthfully the championship piece to take Anthony and the Knicks over the hump isn’t on the roster. He finds himself in much the same position that James was in with a roster full of spare parts with contracts won’t allow them to make a major move to push them over the hump.