The Knicks are not winning the title this year. It is a fact, not a shocker and no fan will be disappointed when the Knicks do not win it. The Knicks are unlikely to go far in the playoffs and most fans will likely be happy if they can just push the first round to 7 games. The bar will be much higher next year when we have a full year of Carmelo and Amare plus possibly a few good pick-ups in the off-season. Knicks fans may not expect to win it next year but they do expect to at least go far in the playoffs.
So, how will the Knicks go from a good team to a great team. They will need to work on their chemistry. They will also need to develop the players around them. They will need a solid bench that can really help them compete the way Big Baby Davis makes the Celtics better or Jason Terry makes the Mavs better. They will also obviously need to get better on defense (but we will not focus on that now).
Where am I going with this? Well the Knicks are not going anywhere this year and unless things fall apart greatly they will at least make the playoffs. Why not use the rest of the season to find out what we have on the bench? Why not give Rautins, Derek Brown and Balkman some playing time? I am not saying these guys deserve to start or that we should give Carmelo a night off but why not run a larger rotation. Why not give them 10 minutes a night a see if they can earn more minutes especially on nights when their starters suck like last night against the Pacers. Not every game is a must win where your starters need to play 40 minutes when you know you are not going to win it all anyway.
Why not have a longer term approach? Andy Rautins is not getting much better by sitting out for a year. No one would argue Landry Fields would have been better off riding the bench all year. Roger Mason is not playing better lately because he sat on his butt for the first 60 games of the year. Why not give some playing times to guys that could be good role players next year and in the future. Let’s see if some of these players deserve a roster spot next year. If Derek Brown is not good enough to get a look this year, why would he suddenly be good enough next year and why even waste a roster spot on him.
I understand these players practice and D’Antoni sees them there. The players do learn a lot in practice (at least on the offensive side) but it is hard to believe that just practicing without a chance to compete in real games will really develop these players into valuable pieces for the future.