Mike Woodson has told reporters he plans on adjusting the New York Knicks‘ rotation depending on the opponent. This is an understandable approach, given the versatility on the roster and the presence of several players that can fill in at multiple positions. However, it’s incredibly odd that, to counter the Chicago Bulls‘ size, he has decided to give Andrea Bargnani more playing time.
Yes, he’s 7-foot-0, which makes him technically a “big man,” but that’s not really the point. Last year, in matchups against the Bulls, the Knicks got killed by Chicago’s intense physicality and offensive rebounding. Why then would you insert Bargnani, one of the worst rebounding seven-footers of all time, into the rotation to solve that problem? Last year, Bargnani put up a sad defensive rebound rate of just 12.3 percent, lower than the 12.8 percent posted by Iman Shumpert or Carmelo Anthony‘s 15.9 percent. Simply put, those are unacceptable rebounding numbers from someone his size and it’s hard to imagine his presence doing anything to stop Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah from collecting missed shots as they please.
As of yet, it’s also hard to imagine him contributing enough on the offensive end to make up for it. He looked uncomfortable in the Knicks’ offense all preseason and again on opening night, failing to take advantage of relatively lax defense. He’ll be in a far worse situation going against a hungry Bulls squad in Chicago.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Woodson has said he wants to adjust his lineup to fit certain matchups. He said the same last year but ended up sticking with his small-ball lineup all year, so that’s still a possibility this season. Ultimately, one of the two lineups will outperform the other and he’ll be forced to stick with the one that works.