The Knicks Playoff X-Factor

Heading into their playoff series against the Celtics, it can be argued that the Knicks are overmatched at every single position but small forward—and even there, Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony is no cake walk. But the one player able to bring a significant advantage for New York happens to come off the bench. He has the type of dynamic range that can change a game’s momentum, and if the Knicks are lucky, swing a series. The man I’m talking about, of course, is Toney Douglas.

At Florida State he was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and without a doubt is the Knicks best at pestering ball handlers on the perimeter. But that likely won’t be where he makes his mark on the series, unless he can make Rondo’s life miserable. In nine games as a starter this season he’s shot 52% from the field and a ridiculous 47% from deep. In games where he’s on the floor over 30 minutes he shoots a higher percentage from deep than those when he’s logged 29 or fewer. From January to April his scoring and assist numbers have been on a steady increase, and there’s no indicator that says he’ll slow down once the playoffs start. Toney Douglas is the key for New York in this series, and a real advantage whether he’s coming off the bench or given a rare start over Landry Fields. Free Douglas!

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