New York Knicks: The importance of the role players


Lance Thomas and Michael Beasley play important role on the New York Knicks. With their skill and background, they’ve become huge parts of this team.

There are big names like Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter on every team. However, if not for the role players, where would they be? Two players on the New York Knicks quietly play huge roles—roles that are a necessity for any team.

In Lance Thomas, you have a veteran player who didn’t have a home. After signing his first 10-day contract with the Knicks, he was re-signed to a second 10-day contract. His play earned him a $27 milion deal with the Knicks over four years.

Michael Beasley, after being picked No. 2 overall in the 2008 NBA Draft, was seen as a bust. After getting to the Knicks, his career has been put in the spotlight.

What roles do these players fill for the Knicks?

Lance Thomas

Lance Thomas was brought over to the Knicks in a trade that sent J.R Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After he and Lou Amundson both signed 10-day contracts with the Knicks, one player stuck with the team and the other one didn’t.

Thomas’ role as a defensive bench option is one that is especially important on this team. Besides Courtney Lee, no other active player on this team can play great defense. However, when the bench unit comes in, you can see Thomas sticking to the best player on the other team.

Putting almost all of his effort on defense, Thomas does not score much. However, he can hit an open three when he has the opportunity, and is able to drive, as well.

This is not an issue for the Knicks. Thomas certainly isn’t in the game for his scoring prowess. He’s in the game to follow the best player on the other team like a shadow, making it difficult for them to even catch the ball.

Thomas appreciates just being on this Knicks team. You can see it in how he runs on and off the court during substitutions. Another way to see Thomas’ passion is seeing him not play up until the last 10 seconds of the game, and still putting in full effort.

Coach Hornacek likes to put him in when the other team has the ball with one more possession left, due to his defensive expertise. Thomas is just fine with that role.

His story on how he got here is also good to have around the young guys on the roster, showing them that hard work and effort can pay off.

Michael Beasley

Beasley came to the Knicks on just a one-year deal worth $2.1 million. Averaging 21.0 minutes per game, Beasley is able to score at a solid rate. He averages 12.6 points per game, and is the main isolation option with Porzingis on the sideline.

That’s really all you need to know to understand the role of Michael Beasley.

A veteran who was called a bust, he always had the ability to score. He never reached the expectation that comes along with being the second pick in the draft, but that’s not the Knicks’ concern.

Before Porzingis got hurt, Beasley was the playing the perfect role for the New York Knicks. He was the volume-scoring bench player who could get the second unit on a roll with his offensive play alone.

Beasley has 14 games scoring over 20 points during the 2017-18 regular season. That includes a 32-point performance against Boston on December 21st.

Beasley and his journey to the Knicks is another great story to have around the young players, showing that when you hit the bottom, you can always rise back up.

These Roles Matter

Lance Thomas playing the key defensive bench role, and Michael Beasley playing the key offensive bench role, can’t be undervalued. The defensive expert and volume bench scorer both have great stories that could help the young core.

Must Read: 2018 NBA Draft: Top 10 prospects as of March 1

It’s unclear if the New York Knicks will look to move on from the veterans this offseason, but both have value to the rebuild.