As solid as J.R. Smith was for the Knicks last season, the big impact he made was largely in part due to the fact he came off the bench. Able to provide his team with a boost later in games, the swingman wouldn't have the same effect if New York chose to start him.
I make the case (a rather strong one too, if I might add) for the Knicks to keep Smith a reserve in order to maximize his contributions, in my latest piece for The New York Times.
It is crucial to the team’s success that Anthony and Stoudemire find a way to mesh. Sharing the ball and developing a balance is key. New York is hoping Felton can help the pair connect the dots. Over the last season and a half, this has proved difficult enough, but adding Smith (who averaged 11.5 shot attempts per game, rather close to Stoudemire’s 13.9) to the equation only stands to complicate things.
Anthony and Stoudemire have enough firepower to pace the starting lineup. What’s more, Smith showed last season that he could continue pacing the second unit. At starting shooting guard, the Knicks are better off targeting a defensive-minded player who can play 15 to 20 minutes a game before heading to the bench in favor of Smith.
The Nets proved such players are still attainable at the right price, signing Keith Bogans on Thursday.
Though Bogans is off the market, there are still plenty of other players the Knicks can target to fill the void at shooting guard. Which of these targets are attainable for the veteran's minimum salary, is the question.
Two of the more talked about players to potentially make their way to the Big Apple are Randy Foye and Carlos Delfino. Both players are coming off decent enough seasons with their respective teams. The Knicks have been intrigued by Foye for quite a while, and Delfino surely impressed them by the way he was able to pester Carmelo Anthony on defense last season.
Foye was apparently interested in joining the Knicks at this point last month, but that was before the team used its mini mid-level exception to sign Jason Kidd. It's unknown whether or not he would entertain an offer for the vet's minimum.
The 6'3 guard is a strong spot-up shooter who would help spread the floor nicely for the Knicks. He averaged 11 points per game and shot 39% from downtown through 65 games (48 starts) for the Clippers last season.
While Delfino may not be as prolific a scorer as Foye, he can do more things on the court. Though he only averaged 9 points during the regular season and shot 36% from deep, Delfino grabbed 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He started 53 of 54 games played for the Bucks.
What's more, Delfino is more than just a spot shooter. The 6'7 swingman can drive to the basket and use his frame to defend an array of different opponents, as evidenced in his efforts on Anthony.
One would expect both Foye and Delfino to warrant more money in the open market. As this hasn't quite been the case, either player is a possibility to accept a lesser offer from the Knicks for a bigger opportunity and chance to start.
Given his size and varied skill set, Delfino appears to stand as a better and more versatile fit. Those interested in seeing exactly what he can do can tune into the Olympics, where Delfino is paired up in the Argentina backcourt with newest Knickerbocker Pablo Prigioni.