The New York Knicks thrive with their veteran players. Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith lead the charge for the Atlantic Division champions. Who carries the workload when those three are down? Chris Copeland wants to be the answer.
Copeland, a forward from Colorado University, completed his first year in the NBA averaging 8.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in the regular season. Copeland shot 47.9 percent from the field and 42.1 percent at the 3-point line. That ranks him fourth and second in the Knicks, respectively.
His stats aren’t really impressive, but his recent surge shows the Knicks how valuable he could become in the future. The surge began when Copeland scored 20 points off the bench in a 90-80 victory over the Indiana Pacers on April 14. He also scored 32 in a 106-95 loss against the Charlotte Bobcats and 33 against the Atlanta Hawks in a 98-92 victory. Copeland started the final two games of the season. This surge earned him a starting role and he continued to start in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics.
He’s showed signs of his scoring prowess before dropping 29 as a starter in a Dec. 17 loss to the Houston Rockets. Copeland also scored 22 off the bench in a 108-89 victory over the Celtics on March 31.
Can Chris Copeland become a dependable scorer next season for the Knicks?
Yes, he can become another scoring threat for the Knicks. Thanks to his recent performances, Copeland has shown the Knicks he can be a scoring threat for them. However, his contract indicates a different story.
Copeland was signed to a one-year, partially guaranteed deal, according to Hoops World. He’ll be eligible for a qualifying offer of $988K, meaning he will become a restricted free agent after the postseason.
Would Copeland like to stay on? I’m not sure. He’s quickly emerging as a key player and could definitely secure more playing time in the playoffs. Copeland’s performance could determine his fate in New York. If Copeland can keep his current scoring streak going, he’ll be a surefire stay on the Knicks for the long haul.