New York Knicks: 2015 Projected Starting Lineup
The New York Knicks had an absolutely horrendous season last year and the prize of it all? The fourth pick. The lottery was not very nice to the Knicks, and as a result they ended up with the fourth pick as a consolation prize. This season, they will most likely look to improve upon last year’s record. Carmelo Anthony can’t be good forever and the Knicks will definitely want to make sure that he’s worth the money they’re paying him. Let’s a take a look at who the Knicks could bring out that will give them the best chance at winning.
Point Guard- Jerian Grant: Grant was acquired in a draft night trade with the Atlanta Hawks and for now it looks like he is the Knicks’ future at the point guard position. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling as a scorer in the NBA, but when playing with Melo, that’s not entirely necessary. Grant will use his incredible basketball IQ and floor vision to run the Knicks offense. The Knicks will finally have a point guard who can help to get the ball to Melo so he doesn’t need to run isolation the whole game. Jose Calderon will serve as a veteran leader off of the bench that will help Grant develop his skills. Calderon has been serviceable in the past but as the Knicks look to transition into the future, Grant is the clear answer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Grant put up 13 points and six assists per game next season.
Shooting Guard- Arron Afflalo: The Knicks missed out on the marquee NBA free agents this offseason, but Afflalo is not a bad consolation prize. Especially since Tim Hardaway Jr. was sent away to the Hawks in exchange for the aforementioned Jerian Grant. This pick is rather obvious considering the only other shooting guard on the roster is Ricky Ledo, who has never and most likely will never start an NBA game. At 29-years-old, Afflalo is still a solid secondary scoring option. With the Trailblazers last season, he averaged 13.3 points per game shooting 42 percent in around 32 minutes per game. Those aren’t astounding numbers, but for someone who will be nothing more than a second option, they are good enough. I wouldn’t be surprised if they spiked considering the Knicks’ lack of scorers.
Small Forward- Carmelo Anthony: This one is obvious and I’m not going to spend much time explaining it. Melo is one of the best scorers in the NBA and will be the featured weapon on this 2015-2016 Knicks team. His season was cut to just 40 games after he decided to shut down for the year to preserve his body for the future. Expect him to show up healthy next season and be a guy who can put up 26 points and seven rebounds per game for the Knicks.
Power Forward- Kristaps Porzingis: This one is very debatable. The Knicks have two options here. They can play the rookie or they can play free agent signee Derrick Williams. Williams may be more NBA ready at this point considering he’s been in the league for a few years, but he’s not going to put up spectacular numbers. Last season with the Kings, he only put up 8.3 points per game. The reason that I believe the Knicks will choose Porzingis is that he is the future. In the NBA Summer League, Porzingis showed off a tremendous amount of skill. Even though his frame is not very NBA ready at this point, I think he will see a fair share of starts this season for the Knicks. After all, Williams is not a good enough option that it’s not worth developing Porzingis. Will he play 33 minutes per game? Probably not. Will he get every chance to start and show his worth this season? Of course. The Knicks will be trying to win this season, but not at the expense of their young star’s development.
Center- Robin Lopez: Since Tyson Chandler left New York, the Knicks have been searching for a new rim protector. Lopez is a very solid low paint option if you’re looking for defense and rebounding. He will not be asked to shoulder much of the scoring load as Melo, Afflalo and Porzingis will handle that job. Instead, Lopez will be used to scare away opposing teams’ players from driving to the paint. New York’s other option is Kyle O’Quinn who they picked up in free agency. Last season O’Quinn averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in only 16 minutes per game. O’Quinn has shown potential but I doubt the Knicks will pass up Lopez’s proven rim protection for O’Quinn’s potential this season. Expect Lopez to see around 30 minutes per game. His numbers won’t be flashy but he will do his job to the best of his ability.