The NBA season is merely weeks away, and one of the main talking points in the lead up to the New York Knicks’ opener has been their backcourt. Having added Arron Afflalo and Jerian Grant in addition to retaining Jose Calderon and Langston Galloway, New York finally possesses genuine depth at the guard positions.
With questions running rampant over how playing time will be distributed among the backcourt, head coach Derek Fisher weighed in with his thoughts.
While the news won’t be universally well-received among the Madison Square Garden faithful, it appears the Knicks will begin the season with Jose Calderon as their starting point guard. After being named a starter by Derek Fisher at the beginning of training camp, the Spaniard has gone on to start in all three of the Knicks’ opening preseason games.
Last year, Calderon registered a modest 9.1 points and 4.7 assists per game before missing a large portion of the tail end of the season through injury. He may not be the sexiest of point guard options, but he is a reliable offensive facilitator who will contribute to the team with his vision and shooting.
Calderon’s days as a starter, however, appear to be numbered. This is largely due to the arrival of new draftee Jerian Grant, whose performances with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish won him a spot on last year’s Consensus All-American First Team.
His minutes during the preseason have been slightly sporadic, but he’s displayed numerous flashes of his sizable talent while on the court.
While Fisher claims he is tempted to start Grant in next Friday’s matchup with the Celtics, there are a few reasons for his hesitancy to do so.
First off, Fisher isn’t convinced Grant would be of more use in the starting lineup at the moment. In fact, it seems the Knicks have been quite impressed with his efforts for the second unit.
Having struck up an impressive partnership with second year guard Langston Galloway, there is reason to believe that the best course of action would be to allow Grant to continue his development in a more comfortable setting. There is little doubt that he will be the starting point guard of the Knicks at some point in the near future, but there is merit in easing him in for the time being.
Additionally, Fisher responded to the idea of playing Grant next to Calderon. At 6″5, Grant has the size and athletic ability to comfortably fill in as a shooting guard.
That role however, has been reserved for another player.
After missing the first three preseason games due to injury, the addition of Arron Afflalo in last summer’s free agency splurge has gone somewhat under the radar. Although starting Grant next to Calderon is a tantalizing prospect, Afflalo’s 3 point shooting, defensive prowess and veteran leadership should win him a starting role for the time being.
With this in mind, it would make sense to avoid fielding Grant as a shooting guard when the balance of the team is based around Afflalo playing there.
Even if he wont start, the future is exceedingly bright for Jerian Grant. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Knicks finally have a talented young point guard who can lead them into the future.
It’s only a matter of time before he’s ready to take the reigns of the New York’ backcourt.
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