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Thread: Position Analysis: Guard

  1. #1
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    Default Position Analysis: Guard

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    New additions: PG Jose Calderon, PG Shane Larkin.

    Returning/on roster: PG Pablo Prigioni

    Gone: PG Raymond Felton, PG/SG Shannon Brown, PG Beno Udrih.

    The starter: Calderon. Acquired in the Felton and Tyson Chandler trade to Dallas, the Knicks improved their shooting at the point guard position. It remains to be seen how Calderon does defensively for the Knicks. He could struggle to defend but the Knicks are expecting Calderon to improve the team’s chemistry in addition to the shooting.

    The wild card: Larkin. Also acquired in the Dallas trade, Larkin was the 18th overall pick in the 2013 draft. He played in just 48 games, averaging 2.8 points in 10.2 minutes per game. But the Knicks have a young, albeit small at 5-11, point guard to develop. Perhaps Larkin could be a spark on some nights.

    Outlook: The Knicks did upgrade at point guard by bringing in Calderon after Felton struggled mightily last season. Calderon also could be a much better fit in the triangle than the underachieving Felton. Calderon averaged 11.4 points, 45.6% shooting overall and made 44.9% of his shots from behind the three-point arc last season. He also averaged 4.7 assists for the Mavs. Felton shot just 39.5% from the field and 31.8% from three-point land. Prigioni shot 46.4% from behind the arc last season. With the Knicks going to a triangle this season, Calderon and Prigioni may be counted on for their outside shooting. Phil Jackson’s point guards in the past often were more spot-up shooters like John Paxson and B.J. Armstrong. The point guard that will make the biggest difference on the team is the one who is retired -– Derek Fisher. Even though he is coaching for the first time in his career, Fisher brings a wealth of championship experience, toughness and leadership. If Fisher can transfer that to the team from the sidelines, the Knicks’ point guard play can only get better after last season.

    Question: How do you think the Knicks did at point guard this offseason?

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    New additions: SG Wayne Ellington.

    Returning/on roster: SG/SF J.R. Smith, SG/SF Iman Shumpert, SG/SF Tim Hardaway Jr.

    Gone: SG/PG Shannon Brown.

    The starter: Head coach Derek Fisher could go in a couple of different ways. He could start Smith and Shumpert if he opts to play Carmelo Anthony at power forward. If he sees Smith as a sixth-man weapon, then he could start Shumpert at shooting guard or start Smith and bring Shumpert off the bench.

    The wild card: Smith. When Smith plays at a high level, the Knicks are so much more dangerous. Coming off offseason surgery, Smith got off to a very slow start last year before playing better toward the end of the season. He averaged 14.5 points while shooting 41.5% for the season. When he is on top of his game both physically and mentally, Smith can be a force like he was in 2012-’13 when he averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 42.2% from the field.

    Outlook: This position has so much potential for the Knicks. If Smith and Shumpert can regain their form from two seasons ago, the Knicks’ offense -– and defense -- can be potent. Perhaps the triangle can rejuvenate them both as Fisher and Phil Jackson hope that the pair can spark the team on both sides of the ball. Smith could see open catch-and-shoot opportunities in the triangle. Shumpert could spark the team as a defender with steals that lead to transition buckets much like past defenders have done in the triangle like Scottie Pippen and Ron Harper did for Jackson. The Knicks also hope that Hardaway Jr. can continue his progression. He has already proven that he can shoot and catch fire quickly but needs to improve defensively and add more versatility to his offensive game. With the addition of Ellington, the Knicks have streaky but highly flammable shooters who could all be nice fits in the triangle. Smith, Shumpert and Hardaway Jr. will all have to show some discipline in the triangle with their shot selection. Smith may have to cut down on the dribbling in the triangle as well. SG/PG Toure' Murry is an unrestricted free agent.

    Question: Who has to have the bigger bounce back season: J.R. or Shumpert?

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    Getting rid of Felton for anyone was a positive move. Calderon is a legit starting PG, great spot for Larkin to get more minutes than he got in Dallas to prove himself but at 5'11 he's a little small for me.

    Smith starting and Shump coming off the bench was working at the end of the season so I think Fisher goes with that. Woody dug a big hole early in the season with not having a set rotation and DFish needs to avoid that. Also play Stat all the minutes he can play he's way better than Bargnani.

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