There's already an early love fest between Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani. Such an embrace by Anthony shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise, however. In addition to providing the Knicks with a more reliable number two scorer, Bargnani's presence also allows the Knicks' star to shift back over to the three at small forward.
There's no doubt that the duo will play plenty of minutes next to one another on the court this coming season. But is such a big lineup the best way to go for New York?
Should Coach Mike Woodson opt to go with a big lineup, the Knicks could begin games with Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni (though J.R. Smith and/or Iman Shumpert could also fill such a role), Anthony, Bargnani, and Tyson Chandler.
Last season, the addition of Prigioni to the team's starting five did wonders for the Knicks as they propelled into the postseason. Just like playing Anthony at the four, going even smaller in the backcourt proved to be successful as well.
If something isn't broken, there's no need to fix it. Smith should remain as the team's sixth man. The Knicks should also continue to start Prigioni alongside Felton. With those suggestions in mind, the question then becomes who starts next to Anthony and Chandler in the front court?
There's no doubt Bargnani in such a lineup would work just fine, but would it be the best option? Some people may forget that Shumpert played very well off the bench during his rookie year. He not only served as a defensive stopper but also an explosive offensive spark plug off the pine. It's all about who else is in the second unit and how well Shumpert meshes with each one of them. Having said that, there's no doubt that the third year guard could thrive against opposing teams' bench players.
In suggesting that both Shumpert and Bargnani both come off the bench for New York, one man appears the most sensible option to start alongside Anthony at the other forward position: Metta World Peace.
By pairing up Anthony and World Peace, it becomes rather irrelevant which one of them starts at the more rigorous power forward position. It's easy to talk about how much pressure Bargnani takes off of Anthony offensively, but what about the burden still on his shoulders defensively?
Last season, Anthony's exhaustion playing the four undoubtedly came (in part) from the physical nature of the position. The wear and tear on his body got to him as the year progressed. With that in mind, wouldn't having World Peace paired up next to him taking other pressures off of Anthony?
That answer would appear to be an obvious yes. World Peace is known for being that gritty and physical defensive stopper. There's no doubt he relishes the opportunity to defend an opposing team's best player. Why not utilize such abilities, as it relates to making things easier for your superstar?
World Peace is an NBA champion. He's a veteran, who, already seems to easily command respect from his teammates. Such a presence would definitely benefit the Knicks not only to begin games, but to finish them as well.
Given Coach Woodson's lineup preferences over the last couple of seasons, inserting World Peace into the starting five would make sense.