Stat Projections for Each NY Knicks Offseason Addition
Seven. Seven new players on the New York Knicks roster, not including the draft picks they sent to Europe (or Westchester) or the player they traded for and then traded away. Next April, when we number junkies are ripping apart every last decimal on the end-of-season stat sheets, what will the figures say about the new boys in blue (and orange)?
There are plenty of things to consider, first and foremost of which is the number of minutes they'll all receive. Vets who were starters for their last team may find themselves riding the Madison Square Garden bench. Youngbloods who impressed the new coaching staff during the summer league may find their roles and minutes expanding.
The triangle offense will also make a difference. In no time at all, new head coach Derek Fisher and Company got the summer league team running the triangle, led mostly by sophomore point guard Shane Larkin, plucked from the Dallas Mavericks in a trade earlier this summer.
If Fish can get the prime-time Knicks playing 48 minutes of triangle offense as well, the team's assists will be spread more evenly throughout the squad—meaning that point guards' assists may actually go down while other positions' increase.
Whose recent injuries may keep his minutes limited? Whose attitude or style of play will clash with his new teammates? Who's likely to get dangerous addictions to pizza and bagels as soon as he moves to New York?
With all that in mind, here are some projections of what the stat sheet will say about the magnificent seven new Knickerbockers: Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Cleanthony Early, Quincy Acy, Travis Outlaw, Samuel Dalembert and Jason Smith.
*All figures are from NBA.com unless otherwise noted.
|2013-14 with Dallas||30.5||11.4||45.6%||44.9%||2.4||4.7||0.9|
Calderon is slow. He will still likely be the Knicks' starting point guard and rightly so, but his snail-like tendencies could prove problematic in a fast-paced triangle offense.
So he will lose playing time to Pablo Prigioni—whose quickness and obsessive love of passing will serve him well in the triangle—and to Shane Larkin, whose youth, quickness and impressive summer league performances running the triangle will get him on the court more often.
When Calderon's minutes drop, his points, rebounds and steals will follow suit; but his great shooting efficiency should hold steady.
His assist numbers will take a hit but only because of the minutes decrease, not because of the triangle's impact. Active ball movement was a big part of the Dallas Mavericks' game last year too, and the team was sixth in the league in assists, even though it didn't have a single player near the top of the individual-assist leaderboard.
Therefore, the stat sheet for Calderon will look something like this in 2014-15:
|Projected Stats for 2014-15||24.0||9.2||46.3%||45.2%||2.0||3.2||0.5|
|2014 Summer League||27.2||12.2||42.9 %||30.0% *||4.2||3.4||3.0|
|2013-14 with Dallas||10.2||2.8||38.0 %||31.6 %||0.9||1.5||0.5|
|Source: NBA *Source: RealGM|
Larkin won't be strutting into the starting lineup—not with Calderon and Prigioni still around—but because of his mental and physical quickness on both ends of the court and his apparent ease with the new offense, he will be playing a bigger role than most third-string point guards.
During summer league, Larkin showed more confidence in his shot than he did in Dallas last season. That attitude, plus the way the triangle can create more open shots for all positions, could cause Larkin's points to double, even if his minutes don't.
If the Knicks can successfully pick up the pace of the game on both ends of the court, Larkin's fast legs, diminutive 5'11" stature and sticky fingers could help him pick opponents' pockets more often.
So, here's what Larkin's stat sheet may look like in his first year as a Knickerbocker:
|Projected Stats for 2014-15||15.3||5.9||40.2%||32.0%||3.3||1.8||1.5|
|2014 Summer League||27.8||11.5||45.7||4.8||1.3||0.3||0.8|
The Knicks were, no doubt, surprised and delighted that Wichita State's Cleanthony Early slipped so far down in the draft. The raw talent and willingness to learn he showed both in college and during the summer league made it look like Early would get big minutes playing behind Iman Shumpert. ... But that was before the Knicks traded for two more forwards.
For Jeremy Tyler and Wayne Ellington, the Sacramento Kings handed over third-year man Quincy Acy and veteran Travis Outlaw. Neither of them is a star exactly, but they could both steal some of Early's time off the bench.
So will Carmelo Anthony if Fisher decides to play Melo at the 3 more than the 4.
Although New York fans will be clamoring to see Early on the court, the rookie will not be nabbing significant minutes right away. Despite his talent, the NBA big men will not let him score and rebound as easily as he has in the past.
The numbers we should expect from Early?
|Projections for 2014-15||5.3||2.2||42.0||1.1||0.4||0.1||0.2|
|2014 Summer League||26.3||11.3||53.8%||6.7||0.6||0.9||0.7|
|2013-14 with Toronto / Sacramento||13.5||2.7||46.8%||3.4||0.4||0.4||0.4|
Let him get close to the rim, and Quincy Acy can be straight-up nasty. Give him a teammate who will dish it to him near the bucket, and the 6'7" forward will throw down angry dunks on bigger, taller opponents. If the Knicks do move the ball the way Fish plans, Acy could deliver some of the points in the paint the team so desperately needs.
(It bears repeating: The Knicks were last in the league in PITP in 2013-14.)
No doubt Acy will get playing time, particularly if they play small ball with the second team, but probably not much more than he got with the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings last season; the frontcourt is too full.
Now that the Knicks do have some better options to choose from at center—Jason Smith foremost among them—Andrea Bargnani and Amar'e Stoudemire may spend more time at the 4 than they did in 2013-14 and squeeze Acy out.
Assuming his minutes stay roughly the same, however, will his points per game change? Although the Knicks' new offense may be far more successful at creating dunk opportunities than it was last season, the painful memories of the frustrating past make one skeptical. However, Acy also moves well without the ball, which will make him a good fit for the new offense.
So, here are the numbers to look for from Quincy Acy in his first year in the Blue and Orange:
|Projected stats for 2014-15||12.5||3.3||48.1%||3.1||0.6||0.2||0.4|
|2013-14 with Sacramento||16.9||5.4||39.9||35.0||2.7||0.8||0.3||0.3|
Knicks general manager Steve Mills said the Knicks hope that Outlaw can provide depth at small forward behind 'Melo, per ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley. That may be a bit of a stretch.
Nevertheless, Outlaw has the potential to drop big numbers, as he did April 8 when he scored 24 on the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has enough of a smooth outside jumper to stretch the floor.
Plus, he pulled down 2.7 rebounds in less than 17 minutes for Sacramento. ('Melo grabbed 8.1 in 38.7 minutes.) Not bad for a small forward.
Outlaw's skills and 11 years in the league will probably make him a go-to guy off the bench ahead of Early. Yet, if 'Melo plays the 3 more than power forward (now that the frontcourt is fuller), that means Outlaw will also share small forward with 'Melo and Iman Shumpert.
So Outlaw may lose some of the 16.9 minutes he enjoyed with the Kings. The amount of time really depends upon how Fish decides to use Anthony and how much he wants Shump and Anthony on the court together.
With all that in mind, what should we expect from Outlaw?
|Projections for 2014-15||12.7||3.8||41.0%||35.5||2.0||0.8||0.2||0.2|
|2013-14 with Dallas||20.2||6.6||56.8%||6.8||0.5||0.5||1.2|
Sam Dalembert may not have a three-point shot, but he has a nice mid-range jumper for a center (44.2 field-goal percent at that range). If he draws on that more often it would help the Knicks spread the floor; and the better ball movement we've been promised should give Dalembert that option. It would likely make his shooting efficiency drop a bit but could increase his points overall.
That is, as long as he gets his minutes. During his last season, in Dallas, Dalembert started 68 of the 80 games he played, averaging 21.0 minutes as a starter and 15.5 off the bench. He's not exactly decrepit, but this will be his 13th year in the league, and expecting much more than 20 minutes per game from him would be silly.
Luckily the Knicks may not need any more than that. They now have Jason Smith on the roster plus Cole Aldrich, who gave the Knicks some wonderful (though few) minutes at the end of last season. Additionally, Bargnani and Stoudemire might put in some minutes at the 5.
The big question is, who will start? Dalembert or Smith...or someone else?
There's a very good chance the 5 will be a rotating door, at least at the beginning. Smith has not played since mid-January, when he was sidelined by a knee injury. The Knicks may want him to dangle his feet for a few weeks before making him dive right into the big job.
With all that in mind, what should we expect from Dalembert?
|Projections for 2014-15||16.8||8.0||49.0%||6.4||0.7||0.4||1.1|
|2013-14 with New Orleans||26.8||9.7||46.5||5.8||0.9||0.4||0.9|
True, Smith didn't even make it to the All-Star break before ending his season with a knee injury and subsequent surgery. True, he played for the New Orleans Pelicans, who only won 34 games (an 11-20 record before his injury). Yet, Jason Smith's individual numbers are still pretty good.
With Dalembert, Aldrich, Bargnani and Stoudemire sharing the Madison Square Garden hardwood, Smith may not get as many minutes as he did in New Orleans, but the difference won't be great.
Smith's nearly 10 points per game will be most welcome to a team that struggled to score. (Tyson Chandler averaged 8.7 points, though it didn't feel like that many.) He doesn't have as many blocks to his name as Dalembert, but there's no arguing that his blocks are decisive highlight material.
His main weakness is rebounding; 5.8 per game is no great feat for a center forward. That number will have to tick upward, and since the Knicks summer league games have shown signs of a (gasp!) fast-break offense, defensive rebounds will need to improve across the board.
So, what to expect from Smith in his first year with the Knicks?
|Projections for 2014-15||24.5||9.5||47.0||7.0||1.4||0.4||1.0|
These projections are of course conjecture, theoretical mathematics, but never fear, stats addicts. The complete NBA schedule will be announced later today, at which point you can start the countdown clock for when you'll have new numbers to luxuriate in like a bubble bath.
Follow Sara Peters on Twitter @3FromThe7.