The Knicks will be shorthanded once again Wednesday night in their preseason finale against the Nets at Nassau Coliseum. Amar’e Stoudemire, Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith, and Rasheed Wallace will be among those who are out of commission for the team tonight.
Injuries to such key contributors will cause the Knicks to make adjustments (should they continue throughout the season), but luckily for them, Coach Mike Woodson seems to have a plan for now.
Just as they did last season throughout STAT’s various absences, the Knicks will position Carmelo Anthony at power forward, going forth with a smaller lineup. Though Kurt Thomas started at the position earlier in the preseason, given his previous success, it appears likely that Anthony will start there when real competition begins.
Pushing Anthony to the four means also playing Ronnie Brewer (and/or Smith, when healthy), at the three. This creates a void at one of the guard positions, which Jason Kidd has been filling as of late next to Raymond Felton.
There’s been talk of the two playing alongside each other all summer/offseason long, and now we’re beginning to see the theory actually come to fruition. But what’s interesting is that Kidd, the Hall of Fame bound floor general, is playing two guard in the hope that he’ll help spread the floor.
Even considering the fact that Kidd is a strong shooter from down town, the positioning should undoubtedly be flip-flopped. The major benefits to putting the veteran on the floor stem from his court vision. A coach on the hardwood of sorts, Kidd is one of the best playmakers to ever play the game of basketball. With the Knicks’ offense sometimes already in disarray (due to the miscommunications on the court), the team is certainly in need of someone of Kidd’s caliber to clean up the offense and run the show.
And Felton has always been comfortable being called upon to score the basketball. His impressive first stint with the Knickerbockers aside, Felton has been one of the better players throughout preseason this fall. Besides building chemistry with his teammates as a playmaker, limiting turnovers, Felton reminded everyone what else he was capable of in the team’s matchup with the 76ers.
Scoring 23 points and tying Anthony for the team lead, Felton displayed aggression and confidence that is needed to be a prominent scorer in the offense. Though he struggled early on, he found his touch late in the game, ending with five daggers from long range.
To completely balance and keep the flow of the offense, Felton should be looked to as a number two option in Stoudemire’s offense. What’s more, Kidd needs to be allowed to run the floor. Aside from Anthony and Felton, it can be Kidd who is bringing the most out of the rest of his Knicks teammates.
Let Anthony and Felton do what they do best, and allow Kidd to connect the rest of the dots. Success may end up following.