Let's take a break from baseball and talk some basketball today. Let me state that I'm am not a Knicks fan (Sorry Spike), however they fascinate me. It's probably because Carmelo Anthony is so good, but they can't manage to win with him. But now that they've traded off all their expensive players, had the second worst record in basketball (but got screwed by the Draft Lottery) and now only have five guaranteed contracts on the books they are very, VERY flexible. For starters they won't get better through the draft. The first move they should make is trading the 4th Overall pick to Minnesota for Ricky Rubio. In order to stay flexible they'll have to send Jose Calderon over too and possibly a future 1st round pick. Rubio is the assist first Point Guard the Knicks have been looking for since they acquired Carmelo. The only issue is staying healthy, but that's a necessary risk. After that I have three different approaches they should use this offseason in order to improve.
The first approach is the Carmelo as Power Forward approach. With this approach the first big move is a rebounding center. While I like DeAndre Jordan, I don't think New York in on his radar so I'm going with Omer Asik. Omer isn't there to score, he's there for rebounds and putbacks. As a starter he has averaged 10.8 rebounds a game, 3.2 of those are offensive. He's not a premiere shot blocker but is aggressive enough to give other centers trouble. Next move is signing Tobias Harris to play Small Forward. When Harris said he wanted to win a title with New York is when I started pairing him a Melo together. I like the of the two of them play off each other. They are both strong, can both rebound well for their position, can stretch the floor and go to the hoop. Tobias will get the rebounds Carmelo doesn't and vice-versa. They are a match made in NBA Heaven when paired with Asik and Rubio. The final started is Arron Afflalo. Afflalo is the speedy shooter they need to pair with Rubio. His outside shot has improved dramatically since coming to the NBA, but has always been on teams that underutilize him. His skill set will play perfectly with the other starters. For the bench I have Langston Galloway and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the backcourt. Two high energy players that will spark the bench. Gerald Green at Small Forward, a three point shooter and powerful dunker. And Jordan Hill and Jason Smith in the front court. Hill is the defending rebounder while Smith is the consistent mid range jump shooter. They'll play perfectly off each other.
The second approach is Carmelo at Small Forward part 1. With this approach we go with the defensive minded Center Robin Lopez. He's there for blocking shots and offensive rebounds. He's there because the Knicks should sign Kevin Love. If you pair Love with Carmelo and Lopez in the front court he can prove he's not a stretch forward and really open his game to all levels. New York wont need a Big 3 with this Big 2. To pair with Rubio I have Mike Dunleavy. A consistent three point shooter, Dunleavy surprised me with his defensive rating this year. One that I think will be better playing Shooting Guard again. For the bench the backcourt remains the same, as does Gerald Green. The frontcourt however changes. Instead of Jordan Hill and Jason Smith I have Reggie Evans and Andrea Bargnanai. I've wanted these two to play with each other for a long time. While Andrea has improved his inside game, he's still not a rebounder. Evans is all rebounding. Pair them together and you have great combo.
The final approach is Carmelo at Small Forward part 2. With the same backcourt and bench the only changes are the starting frontcourt. At Center I have Greg Monroe. He's an aggressive rebounder with a great field goal percentage. He's even got a nice elbow jumper to go with it. At power forward is Josh Smith. Smith provides the strength and shot blocking ability lacking in the line up. While he and Greg Monroe didn't work in Detroit, they should blend nicely now that they are in their proper positions.
Now tell me what you think New York fans. Do these line ups excite you for next years games against the Celtics like they do for me?