By Jared Zwerling
After 160 days of being locked out, NBA players are, believe it or not, less than 24 hours away from being allowed back into their arenas for the first time since the spring.
The Knicks open their preseason Saturday afternoon in New Jersey against the Nets. Now that they're jumping it off with Carmelo Anthony on the first day, a franchise center in Tyson Chandler and Toney Douglas at point guard, everyone's itching to see how the new-look team will produce on the court. Well, we have some stat projections for you. Utilizing Basketball Prospectus' SCHOENE system, which essentially analyzes per-possession, or per-shot rate stats, and the team's pace to produce realistic player averages, ESPNNewYork.com compiled the stat lines for the Knicks' starting five. They are:
PLAYER..... MPG.... ....PPG ....RPG .....APG
Carmelo Anthony 36 25.9 6.4 3.2
Amare Stoudemir 36 23.8 7.6 2.0
Tyson Chandler 32 10.6 9.5 0.6
Landry Fields 34 11.4 6.6 2.2
Toney Douglas 30 13.8 3.4 3.4
Chandler is also projected to average 1.4 blocks per game, his most since 2006-07 with the Hornets (1.8 bpg). As of now, backup point guard Mike Bibby is slated to be the leading scorer off the bench at 6.4 ppg, 2.7 apg and 1.7 rpg in 20 minutes.
Five Stat Observations From The Starting Five
With Chandler in the lineup, Stoudemire will obviously have a slight drop-off in rebounding. But that's a good thing to alleviate the pounding on STAT's surgically-repaired knees, especially during a shortened season.
Even though Chandler is set to average 9.5 rebounds per game, expect him to collect 13 or more rebounds roughly five games a month. With Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony shooting all those midrange jumpshots, Kevin Love-type glass games are only inevitable.
With Chauncey Billups gone, Douglas is likely to become the team's third-leading scorer,
though that role could rotate on any given night, between Douglas, Fields, Bibby, Bill Walker and eventually Iman Shumpert.
On the flip side, it's not encouraging to see that Douglas will average as many boards as assists (3.4), which is extremely low for a starting point guard.
With Chandler in the middle, providing rebounding insurance, the team will likely have more possessions, meaning more shot attempts. Therefore, according to the stats, Fields should improve in every category, even if he shoots a lower percentage.