The New York Knicks are reportedly in talks with Denver Nuggets about a trade that would send SG/SF Iman Shumpert to Denver in exchange for PF Kenneth Faried. The two were drafted five picks apart in 2011, but it appears that each team feels they can do better with other. For Denver, this trade is a logical decision to swap one of their surplus big men for the wing defender they desperately need.
For the Knicks, this trade would be about trying to replace some of the defense and rebounding they lost with the Tyson Chandler injury, as well as adding depth to their very thin front line. However, this trade would be a big mistake if the Knicks were to make it. Faried is a very good player, and I think that this would be a fair deal in terms of the talent being exchanged. However, Faried would not solve the Knicks’ problems.
First of all, it’s not exactly like the Knicks have so many perimeter defenders that can afford to give up Shumpert, who is nothing short of elite in that category. Metta World Peace is the only other player that comes close to fitting that description, and it is a major stretch to say that he is still a shutdown defender at this point in his career.
Second, Shumpert has significant value to the Knicks offensively. Tim Hardaway, Jr. is off to a rough start, and it is impossible to predict whether or not J.R. Smith will continue his strong play from last season or revert back to the inefficient scorer and lazy defender he was earlier in his career. The Knicks need a second scorer, and Shumpert is as a good a bet as anyone to be that player.
While Faried would do a solid job in the post for the Knicks, he would also cause more lineup issues. Faried is only 6’8″, so the Knicks would not be getting the center they need to handle players such as Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez. Offensively, he would be another player who got in Carmelo Anthony’s way on the block.
The Knicks need to realize that Anthony is far more effective at power forward than small forward, and that he is a dominant scorer in the post. If the Knicks traded for Faried, it would force Anthony to the perimeter, where he is too often a player who stops the flow of the offense and takes bad shots. Unfortunately, Faried and Anthony are too small to play together at the 4 and 5, so Anthony would have to be at small forward when they were on the floor together.
The Knicks certainly need to add a big man, but this is not the way to do it. They need to cut Chris Smith, who does not deserve a roster spot. It doesn’t matter that he is J.R.’s brother, because he simply isn’t good enough to play in the NBA. In fact, one GM referred to Chris Smith as “the worst player in summer league history” this summer. The Knicks need to release him and sign a legitimate backup big man.
Making this trade would create as many problems as it solves for the Knicks, and they should not do it. Shumpert should be a crucial part of their plans going forward, and as good as Faried is, he is not the right fit for the Knicks.