**This piece marks new contributor Zach Horst's editorial debut here at Knicks Journal. More information on him and fellow new addition Jason Pafundi later on, but in the meantime, you can follow Zach on Twitter.**
“Mike Bibby? I thought the world didn’t end until 2012.”
It was official: the Knicks had signed Mike Bibby. The deal had gone through late Saturday afternoon, and the general reaction of fans and critics alike was one of disappointment, nearing horror, as evidenced in the text above from a tweet I had read following the move.
It was difficult to find any positive reaction amongst Knicks fans at all, save from my own brother, who quickly reminded me of the strong Sacramento Kings squad that the guard duo of Bibby and Bobby Jackson helped propel into the playoffs.
Compared to all of the other drama surrounding the NBA, the Knicks’ acquisition a 33-year-old point guard should have just been a side note. The more I thought about it, though, the more I began to realize that this was exactly the kind of piece New York needs to win a NBA title.
The Knicks finally have their core group in place now. If anyone thinks a team featuring Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler as their three best players cannot win an NBA title, they are wrong. Even a team simply highlighted by the likes of STAT and Melo had a slim chance at taking home the championship trophy, but now the Knicks stand tall that much improved.
The fans need to forget about the Chris Paul debacle and what could have been. Luckily for Bibby, he’s not as bad as most fans are making him out to be. With a strong foundation already in place, it’s now all about adding the right missing pieces to the Knicks’ championship puzzle, and come playoff time, fans may just see Mike Bibby being one of the most important.
The veteran point guard has been to the playoffs nine out of thirteen years throughout his career, playing one hundred postseason games in total. This type of experience is hard to come by, and should prove to be truly invaluable. Like all veterans, Bibby’s production has decreased over the years, but fans should not take lightly the fact that he was once a premier point guard.
In six full seasons running the point for the Kings from 2001-2007, Bibby averaged nearly 18 points and 5 assists per game. More recently, having logged three and a half seasons with the Hawks, the veteran still proved steady, averaging an impressive 13 points and 5 assists. Last year, splitting his time on the Hawks and Heat, he averaged 9ppg and 3.5apg---not at all bad for a 32 year old point guard seemingly exiting his prime.
More importantly, Bibby shot a respectable 43% from the field on 7 attempts per game, and 44% from behind the arc, with 4.5 attempts per game last season. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s philosophy weighs heavily on three-point shooting, and last year, his squad only shot 37%. Additionally, no one on the team shot three’s with a higher percentage than Bibby. As an option off the bench, these numbers are undoubtedly attractive.
Knicks' fans may be sleeping Bibby for now. His veteran savvy, playoff experience, along with his ability to man the point are sure to help the team, and his strong three-point shooting may even win a few games in the regular season and, more importantly, the playoffs.
So, before Knicks fans are ready to write him off, Bibby deserves an opportunity to prove he can in fact hold his own, handling twenty or so minutes per game off the bench.
With so many scoring options already present on this Knicks squad, Bibby no longer has the pressure of needing to fill it up on the court. His assist numbers have stayed consistent over the years, and that, paired up with his ability to knock down the occasional shot from long range, should benefit the Knicks.
At the very least, fans can take comfort in knowing Bibby is in good company: his father, Henry, donned orange and blue for the 1973 NBA Champion Knicks. Let’s hope the younger Bibby can duplicate some of that success during the upcoming season.