In case fans have forgotten who this mysterious man is, Tyler has been playing with the Erie Bayhawks, the Knicks’ D-League affiliate for the past season. The Knicks wanted to bring him on to the roster by the start of the season after impressive Summer League showings, but Tyler came down with a stress fracture in his left foot, shelving him from attending training camp. He has shown his upside playing in the D-League as of recent, averaging just over a double-double (18/10.2) in six games played with the Bayhawks. He’s also had very brief stints with most notably the Warriors and the Hawks.
Now, the question is, as it says in the title: Will Mike Woodson actually use Jeremy Tyler or will he be sitting on the bench to dry?
Over the past couple of seasons, the 15th man spot has boosted the Knicks immensely. You may remember that guy Jeremy Lin from two years ago and Chris Copeland from last year, the first guy being a complete lifesaver and the second being yet another colossal three point shooting bolster to last year’s roster that was already infested with an arsenal of three point marksmen (and, of course, the Knicks passed on them). Because it’s very difficult being an optimist, bear in mind that 15th men really matter. Tyler could be the third 15th man in a row that could hopefully make a difference. It doesn’t have to be a Jeremy Lin-esque difference necessarily, but considering the state of the team right now, it would be nice to see some decent production from him.
When not injured, Tyson Chandler has been lonely all season in the frontcourt. When Andrea Bargnani is sharing the floor with Chandler and when he’s on the floor in general, except, in the post, because he’s been a wildly underrated post defender, the defense is doomed to fail. Relying on a 36 year old Kenyon Martin as your primary secondary enforcer isn’t exactly the best idea as of now. K-Mart has had some minor injuries here and there and he’s still on a minutes restriction because of that. Amare Stoudemire is abhorrent defensively (see the Pistons game in November and just in general) Cole Aldrich, who was on the verge of being cut to make space for Tyler instead of Smith, has barely played and is still limited on both ends of the floor when he’s played, particularly on the defensive end because he gets exterminated on pick and rolls frequently. The frontcourt line has been devastated for the most part and they probably can’t take another injury.
Although Tyler is penned as the 15th man, he may go ahead of someone like Aldrich on the depth chart due to the lack of playing time. Maybe Tyler can contribute to the currently atrophied frontcourt. Mike Woodson has even stated that he could crack the rotation. It’s great to see that the Knicks are giving a second chance to Tyler by starting over again after his failed attempt overseas in Israel. Hopefully this’ll be a fresh start for Tyler.