The New York Knicks have had a stellar offseason, with the highlight being trading for former first-round pick Andrea Bargnani, as well as re-signing critical players such as J.R Smith, Pablo Prigioni, and Kenyon Martin.
They were also quiet yet quite productive in free agency when they made they were able to sign Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace during the free agency period.
The 2012-13 bench was actually one of the best in the league, with the fourth highest efficiency differential, the first being the L.A Clippers.
Adding these players only makes the bench stronger; adding size, shooting, and especially defense. The Knicks were 10th in the league for highest opponent field goal percentage last season, one of the only playoff contending teams to be that low.
I mean, even teams like Toronto, Philadelphia, and even the Wizards allowed fewer points. Therefore, adding MWP brings a premier defensive presence, even if MWP is past his prime. MWP also allows Iman Shumpert to play his natural position at shooting guard, putting him in a better position to score the ball. Another asset this new bench brings is shooting, as each player on the NY bench has shot at least 35% from three over his career.
But then again, the Knicks aren’t in need of a sharpshooter, as they actually set a new record last season with 891 three pointers made. However, the Knicks can only be this good if Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire can stay healthy. They are vital players who can play a role on a contending team when fit and with Bargnani being an offensive minded player, it only adds to the deadly touch the Knicks can produce off their bench.
The main issue last season was fitness.
The Knicks had quite an old team and the only way that they were going to make it far was if they’re offensive bench could carry them far, the main contributor being the lackadaisical, audacious, and somewhat erratic Smith.
If Smith can become more of a consistent player then this Knicks bench will be deadly. He has shown signs of shot selection development in his first real season with the Knicks last year and if he can block out all the off the court distractions then he could be deadly next season.
With this remodeled bench, and the addition of a promising rookie in Tim Hardaway Jr., the Knicks have a surefire shot of being a contender this year, and potentially for years to come.