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Knicks Injuries May Force D’Antoni to Explore Bench

After a skirmish with Marvin Williams in Friday’s game vs. The Atlanta Hawks, Shawne Williams received a one-game suspension. Under normal circumstances the absence of Williams would not make too big of an impact on the Knicks game plan, but Williams was already starting in place of Wilson Chandler (calf) who is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. To go along with the absence of Chandler and Williams, Amar’e Stoudemire has a minor knee injury and is also questionable to play against Detroit. This will stretch the usually tight Knicks rotation very thin.

With the Pistons at a poor 17-33 expect the Knicks not to risk Chandler or Stoudemire worsening their minor injuries, so be ready to see Bill Walker clock major minutes against Detroit if Chandler and Stoudemire do indeed wear their street clothes to the game. Walker has been in and out of the rotation all season long and D’antoni has enough confidence in him to boost his minutes in the absence of three Knicks forwards. But Walker alone cannot take on all of the minutes left open by the injuries and suspension. I imagine Turiaf will add to his usual 19 minutes per. But beyond Turiaf and Walker, coach D is going to have to get creative. Maybe we will get to see the highly touted Knicks prospect Anthony Randolph who has only played in 14 of the Knicks’ 46 games this season, in which he is only averaging eight minutes of court-time.

In the end, these injuries (being minor) and this suspension (being short) may be a blessing in disguise. Because they could give Anthony Randolph an opportunity to up his trade stock, which may be very useful in the hunt for Carmelo Anthony. After all, Mike D’Antoni can be pretty stubborn when it comes to doling out bench minutes, (see Nate Robinson dropping 41 points last year against the Hawks after 14 consecutive games with a “DNP – Coaches decision” next to his name in the box score), so this could force D’antoni to look a little deeper into the bench. Plus facing the lowly Pistons at home should not come as too much of a challenge for these Knicks full strength or not.