New York Knicks Training Camp Battles: Power Forward


More than likely, the most intense position battle for the New York Knicks this season will be for the starting power forward spot. With talent currently on the roster like Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Andrea Bargnani quite possibly either one could end up being the starter. It just depends on who head coach Mike Woodson would be more comfortable with bringing off the bench.

Last season, Woodson moved Anthony over from small forward to power forward. Of course, anyone who watched the 2012-13 season knows that the decision to shift Anthony to power forward was a total success.

Mar 2, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani (7) during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 122-114. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The reason Melo was such a success was because as a much more athletic forward, Melo is then able to draw out the big man defenders out to the perimeter where he will either shoot right over the defender or take the easier route and simply blow by them to the basket for an easy bucket.

Things are different now, though.

The Knicks brought in Bargnani, and are hopeful that Stoudemire is healthy enough to command minutes when the 2013-14 season starts. Then when Kenyon Martin comes in the picture, it then becomes even harder to evenly distribute the minutes for the power forwards.

How the Knicks address their crowded frontcourt without taking minutes away from Anthony is going to go a long way toward determining the team’s ceiling in a make-or-break year. Obviously, everyone will say based on the success last year, Melo should be the starting 4 at the start of the season, but that is a bit cliché if you ask me.

It may have been a success during the regular season, but in the playoffs it may not cut it. Besides, I believe that Melo was only playing the 4 in the first place because Woodson was left with absolutely no choice with Stoudemire in-and-out the lineup all season long.

There are an awful lot of “maybes” surrounding Bargnani, and it’s certainly possible that he’ll score well enough to help the Knicks. But the fact is that he hasn’t been an efficient shooter since the 2009-10 season (when he hit 47 percent of his field goals and 37 percent of his triples), and he provides more questions than answers in a crowded frontcourt.

The guy that the Knicks should go with is the new guy Bargnani.

Optimists think he’ll find his stroke and help the Knicks stretch the floor on offense, something they had great success with a year ago and he can add to that as well. According to sources close to the Knicks organization, the whole reason Bargnani was brought to New York was to move Melo back to the 3 and have Bargnani at the 4. Remember, Bargnani is a pure perimeter player who’ll allow Anthony to take advantage of small forwards in the post and at the elbows.

If he’s on the floor, Tyson Chandler’s presence is much-needed. Otherwise, New York has no hope of rebounding or penetration in the lane. That’s going to be a truism for the Knicks this season anyway, but it’ll be especially critical to have some muscle in the middle when Bargnani, basically a seven-foot shooting guard, is in the lineup. In reality, the Knicks can’t go wrong.