In a league where the small players are more heavily emphasized, could a big man duo be the answer the New York Knicks are looking for?
According to Ian Begley of SNY, the New York Knicks are interested in bringing Christian Wood to the Big Apple during the free agency. The 24-year-old power forward will become an unrestricted free agent offseason.
That means the Knicks wouldn’t have to give away any draft picks or send any of their current players to the Detroit Pistons.
However, the question remains: Could he help New York increase the expectations for the next season?
In recent years, the NBA has become a league where long-distance shots are the best weapon for most, if not all, teams. Proof of this is that the two best scoring teams average less than 45 percent of their points in the paint:
The Milwaukee Bucks:
- 118.6 total points per game
- 50.4 points in the paint per game (42.5%)
The Houston Rockets:
- 118.1 total points per game
- 46.8 points in the paint per game (39.6%)
Of course, the Knicks are not the exception to this tendency, as 46 percent of their points come from the paint. 20 percent of those points come from just one player, Mitchell Robinson, who averages 9.7 points per game and has an effectiveness of 74.2%.
So, do the Knicks really need another big man?
Nowadays, it’s rare for teams to put two big men on the court at the same time, and the reason is obvious: If most of the game happens outside of the paint, why would you need an extra big man?
However, if the Knicks think of using them as a tandem, that could be very helpful to the team.
Like I mentioned in a previous article, one of the Knicks’ biggest weakness is the game in the paint. All season long, the Knickerbockers have struggled when they’ve faced a dominant player in the paint.
On average, big men who have faced the Knicks have ended up with a double-double (points and rebounds), often exceeding 20 points.
With that in mind, bringing another big man who can take Mitchell’s place while he’s on the bench could be a great idea, because you can have a paint protector during the entire game without diminishing each other’s production.
If the season ended today, this will be the final numbers for that possible tandem:
- 23.2 minutes per game
- 9.7 points per game
- 7 rebounds per game
- 21 minutes per game
- 13.1 points per game
- 6.3 rebounds per game
With those numbers, and in the best-case scenario, the Knicks could have 22.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game with basically one player on the court. In points, that kind of productivity would compare with that of players like CJ. McCollum, D’Angelo Russell, Jason Tatum or Paskal Siakam, who are within the top 20 best players in scoring at the moment.
This could sound like Moneyball, but let’s be honest: If the Knicks can get superstars numbers without paying even half of the money that one of those players gets every year, it sounds like good business for the team.