Rumors of a potential trade involving Kenneth Faried and Iman Shumpert have surfaced and at first glance, it looks like the trade would be a major boon for the New York Knicks. The Knicks have started just 2-4 heading into their road game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. To say that they’ve started slow would be accurate. It’s the major offensive and rebounding issues that are the most glaring issues.
Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Tyson Chandler and company haven’t played to their potential (or played much at all) and the season is a lot longer than just six games. Let’s take a look at what a potential deal would do for the Knicks.
We knew this team wasn’t going to be an offensive juggernaut, but they’ve badly underachieved so far. They missed Smith over the first five games and need to find a reliable second option behind Anthony. They’re currently 25th in the NBA in points per game (93.0) and offensive rating (100.7). Those numbers aren’t going to skyrocket, but they’re going to improve.
Why am I so confident that they’ll go up? Firstly, even though Smith has his shortcomings, he’s still
an electric scorer that can do a lot of damage on his own. Let’s not forget that he averaged 18.1 points per game off the bench last season for the Knicks. He’s never going to be the most efficient scorer in the league, but he takes a lot of the pressure off for Anthony.
Andrea Bargnani is another story. He’s not well suited to be the No. 1 or No. 2 option in the offense. When he can get a solid matchup and has his confidence high, he can be a solid offensive producer. Look no further than his 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists and five blocks in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats last week for proof. Will he disappear from time to time? Yes. Is he the answer to the offensive woes? No.
Raymond Felton has also been a big disappointment this season and figures to turn it around at some point. He’s currently shooting 37.5 percent from the field and just 24 percent from the 3-point stripe. Like Smith, Felton’s shooting numbers won’t be confused with Steve Nash (well maybe this year), but he’s also not nearly this bad. He shot 42.7 percent from the field in 2012-13 and 36 percent from three.
With this team, Faried wouldn’t be much of an offensive presence. They play a slow pace (24th in the NBA) and Faried would be a lot more effective in transition. While he’ll get his share of lobs and putbacks, he isn’t going to add many new wrinkles to the offense.
WHAT ABOUT THE GLASS?
The shots will eventually fall and numbers often move towards the averages, but rebounding is a different story. Without Chandler in the lineup, this team struggles to do much of anything on the glass. In their last game, a 120-89 shellacking at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, the Knicks were out-rebounded 51-33. That’s ghastly.
Anthony led the Knicks with eight rebounds with Cole Aldrich pulling down seven in just over eight minutes. That’s just not going to work in the long-term, or at least until Chandler gets back.
In fact, including the six minutes that Chandler played before getting hurt against the Charlotte Bobcats back on November 5th, the Knicks have been outrebounded 143-103. I could come up with some more words to describe that number, but I’d say it speaks for itself.
Here is a big spot where Faried could do work. He’s No. 5 in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage (14.6) and No. 8 in total rebounding percentage (19.2). Simply put — he’s a glass eater. He thrives on crashing the glass in order to make things happen. This Knicks team without Chandler doesn’t stand a chance as it relates to the rebounding battle.
NOT A STAR, BUT A PERFECT FIT FOR NOW
Faried isn’t going to change the landscape of the Eastern Conference, but he’ll absolutely be effective in his role. Once Chandler returns, the Knicks could bring Faried off the bench or could push Anthony back to the small forward. Wouldn’t a Felton-Smith-Anthony-Faried-Chandler lineup be menacing (assuming someone could shoot a jumper on that day)?
Faried is young, athletic and has a great motor. He’ll be at the end of his contract at the close of the 2014-15 season, which means the Knicks could get a real good look at him before deciding to sign him. While they’ll create one major issue by trading Shumpert (perimeter defense) they’ll solve another (horrific rebounding).
This is a move the Knicks have to make if they want to compete in the East. Chandler won’t be back for a while and the Knicks are going to dig too deep of a hole if they aren’t careful. It would be sad to see Shumpert go, but it would be more sad to continue on in last place in the Atlantic Division.