Amar’e Stoudemire is the longest tenured New York Knick. While he has only been on the team for two years, it seems apropos that he would be the longest tenured player. After all, Stoudemire was the one that started it all, bringing the Knicks back into relevancy when he signed with the team after spending 8 excellent seasons with the Phoenix Suns. Many questioned whether Stoudemire could be the focal point of a team, given his knee issues and his supposed dependency on Steve Nash, but Stoudemire flourished in his first season with the Knicks, being considered an MVP candidate for the first half of the season. But after a disappointing campaign last season, people are once again questioning whether Stoudemire can still be an elite player. This season will be a make or break season, as he tries to return to dominant form.
If there is a better shooter than Steve Novak in existence, he doesn’t reside on this planet. A 6’10” forward born in Libertyville, IL, Novak’s basketball odyssey began at the University at Marquette. In his four years there (2002-2006), he appeared in 131 games (89 starts), including a Final Four run in 2003, alongside Miami Heat star, Dwayne Wade. His scoring improved during each season with Marquette, going from 7.1 points per game in his freshman year to 17.5 points per game his senior year. His trademark then, as is now, was the three-point shot. In his four years, he hit 368 shots from beyond the arc and shot 46.4% from trey. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 32nd pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. He appeared in just 70 games with the Rockets in his first two seasons, playing 5.5 and 7.5 minutes in those seasons respectively. The 2008-09 season was the first in which Novak received extensive playing time. In 71 games, Novak played 16.4 minutes and averaged 6.9 points per game while shooting 41.6% from beyond the arc. In his next season with the Clippers, his playing time was reduced dramatically (54 games, 6.7 minutes per game). From there, Novak languished on the bench with the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs in 2010-11, appearing in a total of 30 games with the two clubs. His breakout came last season, when he appeared in 54 games with the Knicks, averaging 8.8 points per game while shooting a ridiculous 47.2% from three-point land, tops in the NBA.
Tyson Chandler was acquired by the Knicks through a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks at the onset of the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. Chandler immediately made an impact on the team last year, playing a major role in turning the Knicks from 21st in defensive efficiency in 2010-11 to 5th by the close of the season. His absence only further highlighted his importance to the defense: the Knicks allowed over 110 points per game in each of the four games Chandler missed during the regular season. In general, Tyson serves as an on-court and off-court leader for the team, picking teammates up or giving them advice during the game, or being the most vocal cheerleader on the bench. It’s not a stretch to say that Chandler could be the most important player on the Knicks.
This is a guest post from Joe Genovese (@2PalsTlknSports). Be sure to follow him.
Terrance Henry is my sleeper in the second round. He had a solid four-year career at Ole Miss and in his senior season, Henry averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 rebounds a game. Henry shot 45% from the field and was an ALL-SEC second team selection. He was the only player in school history with 1,000 points and 100 blocks in his career. In his last five regular season games, Henry averaged 16.6 points a game, and in his last college game, he scored 21 points in a 96-93 loss to Illinois State in the first round of the 2012 NIT Tournament.