As always, the New York Knicks‘ rumor mill keeps on churning. This time the rumors are centered around an allegedly proposed trade involving sending third-year guard Iman Shumpert to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Kenneth Faried. The Knicks are thin in the front court because of Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s health issues (not to mention Tyson Chandler‘s injury), but they shouldn’t pull the trigger on this trade.
Other than rebounding (the Knicks are 26th in defensive rebounding and 21st in offensive rebounding), Faried would do little to address the Knicks’ front court issues. They’ve had some problems with spacing as of late and Faried has no shooting range to speak of. He’s effective only in the immediate basket area. Offensively, he’s best suited for the sort of up-tempo fast break game the Nuggets used to great effect last season. So far this year he’s struggled tremendously in their new, slower offense, and the Knicks play at a similarly slow pace. He also wouldn’t do much to turn the Knicks’ problematic interior defense around. Faried has the athleticism to block shots, but he’s small for his position, he can be backed down in the post with relative ease by bigger front court players, and he has poor defensive instincts. Last year, the Nuggets weren’t exactly a defensive juggernaut and their defense was slightly worse (giving up an awful 106 points per 100 possessions) when Faried was on the court.
Losing Shump would also be a major blow to the Knicks. He was arguably their best two-way player in the playoffs last year, and he’s easily the best of their young wings. He’s already improved considerably from his rookie year, when his lone contribution was his stellar on-ball defense. Now, he’s a player capable of hitting 40 percent from beyond the arc. His team defense still needs a lot of work, but he has the potential to become one of the league’s premier “3 and D” guys; those are incredibly valuable to contending teams. While other teams might be able to get more use out of his two-way talent and jaw-dropping athleticism than the Knicks (just imagine him being coached by Gregg Popovich), he’s still their only young standout player. Giving him away would continue a longtime Knicks trend of trading talented young players before they hit their full potential.
Even if the Knicks feel that trading Shump, a fan favorite, is their best option, trading him for Faried is almost certainly not the right move.