The Importance of a Fifteenth Man on Knicks’ Roster

NBA training camp is all but just five weeks away. Looking back at the summer the Knicks had, one can honestly say the team made improvements.

Aside from even getting a bit younger, to boot, Glen Grunwald and company managed to reel in a handful of notable and talented players. Not worried too much about specific position, the front office simply kept their eye on the prize and targeted players with interesting skill sets. It's up to Coach Mike Woodson to figure out where the puzzles piece fit together, and realize who meshes best with who.

As it stands now, the Knicks have fourteen players currently on the roster. Should both Jeremy Tyler and CJ Leslie's non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed, New York would still have one remaining roster spot for a fifteenth and final man.

As reported by back in February, among the other players set to receive training camp invites in the coming weeks is Chris Smith, brother of J.R. Following camp, however, the younger Smith is more likely to end up a member of the D-League affiliated Erie BayHawks than the Knicks. For what it's worth, the Louisville product has been staying and playing all around New York City this offseason.

Still, the Knicks will still have one roster spot to fill, if so desired. Keeping that in mind, the team has continued to explore any and all options (quite literary). As the weeks go by, New York has held workouts with an intriguing group of players, including the likes of Gary Forbes, Sean May, and Hamed Haddadi.

Clearly, with the injury bug still set to bite the Knicks hard throughout this coming season, depth all the way from A to Z is necessary. Whoever that fifteenth man may be, he'll end up seeing the court and potentially playing meaningful minutes throughout the season.

It's easy to understand from most recent workouts that perhaps the Knicks aren't going to try bringing in another young gun to fill out the roster. They've already taken chances (and perhaps had their fill of such talents) with players like Tyler and Leslie.

With that in mind, the fifteenth man on New York's roster is likely to be a previously injured player on the comeback trail, a guy with more international experience, etc. It'll be someone who comes cheap, but still has some experience and/or creditability under their belt to speak of. The team would benefit from a low-risk, high-reward, type player. 

It'll be interesting to see who the Knicks ultimately take a chance on, but one thing is for sure: fans will love him. Always excited to root for the underdog (a la Jeremy Lin, Chris Copeland, etc.), the last player on New York's roster often becomes a bit of a cult hero as he guns for a chance.

Fan support thrown behind him as he fights never hurts.