The Knicks face a problem, not a “oh no Isiah is talking to another female executive” problem, but a problem nonetheless. Actually it’s sort of a good problem to have, and that’s the lopsided Guard heavy roster they currently have. With returning guards J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Pablo Prigioni all vying for minutes, they’ll have to battle it out with sure-starter Jose Calderon, talented guard Shane Larkin, and newcomer Wayne Ellington – OH! Did we mention rookies Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo clogging the 3 spot in-case new head coach Derek Fisher decides to slide one of his taller 2s into the small forward position.
Let’s take an inventory of the guard position.
J.R. Smith – Former 6th man of the year and good friend of the $122million Carmelo Anthony, Smith is arguably the Knicks second best player when he is focused – a task that plagues him every season. Honestly, there isn’t much to rely on when it comes to this Knicks team, and a focused J.R. smith IS a dangerous weapon off the bench, luckily for fans everywhere, Knicks won’t have to live or die by which Earl Smith shows up, Fisher could simply bench him for one of the many other guards fighting for minutes.
Much deserved scrutiny was brought upon him and the team when they were unable to tame his childish antics, but to his credit he was trying to lighten the mood on a team frustrated with each other.
2013-14 stats: 14.5 ppg (points per game) 3.0 apg (assists per game) 4.0 rpg (rebounds per game) 14.00 PER (Player efficiency rating)
What Show Happen: Trade him to unload the $6.3 million he stands to make in 2015 but mostly for the potential headache he’ll become when those shots don’t fall and his mood sours during those dog days of the NBA.
Trade Value: Low
Iman Shumpert – Still only 24, the Chicago native hasn’t shown the promise that many around the league were sure of, but thanks to his tenacious man and team defense, he has been able to keep his value somewhat high. The Knicks have turned down many offers for Iman – including a trade for Kyle Lowry back in December that would have sent Iman and a 1st rounder the other way. It’s even rumored that James Dolan isn’t too keen on the combo guard out of Georgia Tech which does not bode well for his future, this organization is known for questionable moves. Iman is on the last year of his rookie deal and would require a Qualifying Offer if the Knicks plan to keep him, but there is always a need for defensive help, especially when there’s still upside attached to the player. Possible suitors could be teams like OKC (who just lost Sefolosha), Chicago (Who I’m sure Thibs would love to get his hands on), or Minnesota should a trade for Kevin Love ever materialize.
2013-14 stats: 6.7ppg 1.7apg 4.2rpg 9.6per
What should happen: Keep him! Unless someone else steps up and takes the defensive side of the court seriously, Iman should be opposite the opposing team’s best back-court player.
Trade Value: High (err…somewhat)
Tim Hardaway Jr. – Possibly the team’s best offensive weapon not named Carmelo. The rookie shot 36% from 3 and showed promise as an excellent finisher during fast breaks. The knock on Tim is his defensive ability, or lack thereof, and his tunnel vision for the rim which needs to improve in the Triangle’s pass heavy offense. Should J.R. or Iman get traded, ‘Junya’ would have no problem taking those minutes and being productive, but the defense must improve if his wish is to stay off the bench. Plus who could forget his duel with Dion Waiters at last season’s Rookie vs Sophomore game;
Potential! He’s full of it!
2013-14 stats: 10.2ppg 0.8apg 1.5rpg 12.79per
What Should Happen: Teach the kid some damn defense! And keep him!
Trade Value: High
Shane Larkin – Although his rookie year was derailed due to injury, Shane Larkin still holds much praise from executives around the league. The former ACC player of the year was part of a Florida team that dominated much of the NCAA season with a 29-7 record that was capped by an exit in the Sweet Sixteen. Knicks need to get younger at PG with Jose Calderon (32) and Pablo Prigioni (37) being the other 2 floor generals, Larkin’s youth will play an important role this season and should have a proper tryout if he is to have a future in New York.
2013-14 stats: 2.8ppg 1.5apg 0.9rpg 8.34per
What Should Happen: See what he can do, he’ll benefit from playing with Calderon and Prigi and being coached by a former Point Guard.
Trade Value: Moderate
Shannon Brown – This smells like a signing designed to transition the team into the Triangle Offense. Brown did not contribute much as a late season signing but did enough to earn a second go-round with the Knicks.
2013-14 stats: 2.2ppg 0.3apg 1.0rpg 4.78
What should happen: Can’t hurt to keep him, it helps to have a player that has experience in the Triangle. Plus dunks!
Trade Value: Low, like really low.
Jose Calderon: The triangle works best when the Point Guard is a good shooter, that’s where Jose Calderon will earn his pay check, defensively on the other hand… well lets just say if Raymond Felton’s defense drove you insane, buy more ‘crazy pills’. As one of the best 3P% shooters in the league among PGs, Jose will most assuredly start (barring injury). Jose could be used to bring in FIBA teammate Marc Gasol in 2015, a crucial Summer for the Knicks who will need to pair Carmelo with serious help if they want to justify the near max deal he’s signed to.
2013-14 stats: 11.4ppg 4.7apg 2.4rpg 15.25per
What Should Happen: Getting rid of him will be a tough sell for any team with his age and contract so it look like they keep him. Plus Jose will most likely be the best Point Guard the Knicks have had in a long time, unless you count the likes of Jeremy Lin and pre-retirement Jason Kidd count on your list.
Trade Value: Low. With Calderon set to make 22million over the next 3 years, trading him would be next to impossible unless we pair him with an asset.
Wayne Ellington: Pretty much a throw-in in the Chandler/Calderon trade, not much use for him on this team unless he’s used in another trade. My suggestion, don’t invest in New York real estate Wayne.
2013-14 stats: 3.2ppg 0.4apg 1.0rpg 12.29per
What Should Happen: The benches need warming!
Trade Value: Low
So here we are, at the end of the road and in need of a decision to make. Who should stay and who should go? If I were playing GM, I’d give J.R. a trial and if he underperforms then ship him to the highest lowest any bidder. Iman, THJR, and Larkin would benefit from playing extra minutes and no distractions would definitely be a plus.
Tell me what you think on twitter @Arrgenys