Without Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have relied upon their role players to pace the team offensively. Missing two key starters, the team is certainly happy enough to receive support for Carmelo Anthony anywhere they can find it.
Lucky for them, there are potent offensive options off the bench. Steve Novak has capitalized on his ability to spread the floor well, becoming the league's best shooter from long range this season. Though J.R. Smith has displayed an erratic shooting touch since arriving in New York from China, he has been stepping up when the team needs him most. A consistent double-digit scorer, Smith is averaging 12.5 points under Coach Mike Woodson, contributing to the Knicks' impressive 10-3 record down that stretch.
The Knicks have opted to play small ball and as a result, Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert currently stand as the team's starting backcourt. With two key rotation players filling some big shoes, the Knicks are looking for someone else to come through in the clutch to make sure the team's bench doesn't miss a beat.
The team doesn't have to look very far, as Toney Douglas is all too familiar with giving his team that much needed boost. Douglas had been pushed to the end of the bench following a failed trial as starting point guard, but it appears the perfect time for Coach Woodson to brush the dust off Douglas and get him back in the game.
Propelling the Knicks as his team's sixth man last season, Douglas was among the league's top three-point field goal shooters in the second half of the year. His scoring numbers hit double-digits on a consistent basis, and his shooting percentages from deep were impressive enough. With the Knicks hustling and bustling for playoff position and so many key players currently banged up, there's no time to worry about how or why Douglas dropped the ball as starting floor general.
The third-year player is the type of guy who needs to be into the right position to succeed. Having to create offensive opportunities for his teammates is simply not one of his strengths. The Knicks wanted him to step up and perhaps stretch his game, but he just couldn't do it. There's no use crying over spilled milk, so why not just let Douglas hone in on the skills he does have in order to help the team through a playoff run?
Woodson began to do that during the Knicks' 96-80 romping of the Magic in Orlando. Keeping Douglas on the court for the most minutes he's played since January 28th (a 97-84 loss to the Rockets in which Douglas shot 3 for 13 in 27 minutes), the young guard showed little rust, not only pouring in 12 points, but dishing out 6 assists and grabbing 5 rebounds as well.
Douglas is a strong defender, which should bode well in Woodson's system too. But the most important thing for Douglas to continuing doing at this point is making shots. There's no longer any pressure to set up his teammates, and with the Knicks in need of some scoring (especially off the pine), it'd be a good idea for the team to just let Douglas do what he does best: put the ball in the basket.