Let the New York Knicks battle for the guard positions begin

New York Knicks, Dennis Smith Jr.

The back-court for the New York Knicks always seems to be crowded.  And now, it’s about to get more congested with the return of Dennis Smith Jr. and Daymean Dotson.

Smith Jr. has been nursing a lower back injury and Dotson is coming off shoulder surgery this off-season.  The two should make their preseason debut this Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks.

Just as the Knicks welcome back Smith Jr. and Dotson, Frank Ntilikina is ‘probable’ with a groin injury.  This the same nagging injury that he dealt with all last season, limiting him to 43 games.

Coach David Fizdale said that sitting Ntilikina, and everyone really, is more a precautionary measure.  The Knicks are starting the season off with a lot of injuries.  The one’s mentioned above, Reggie Bullock’s back injury and Mitchell Robinson’s overall health, which is always in question.  It’s not the start to a season you want.

However, all of the Knicks current guards can make a case to start.  Dennis Smith Jr. was the leader in the clubhouse to start the season as their point guard.  He has been putting in the work this summer to improve his shot and they hope it pays dividends.  Plus, Smith Jr. clearly has the most upside and explosiveness to run the offense.

Elfrid Payton began making his case this preseason to steal minutes from Smith Jr.  Payton appears to run the offense well, but that’s it.  He doesn’t have the offensive capability like Smith Jr., but the offense seems to sort-of smoothly with Payton.

Ntilikina started to make his case for more time with his play during the FIBA World Cup.  Coach Fizdale noticed his progression and will try to incorporate that into the Knicks system.  Ntilikina’s progress appeared through his aggressiveness and confidence in taking his shot.  Now, it’s about staying confident in his game and healthy to perform.

RJ Barrett will have competition with Dotson’s return.  But, it’s unlikely that Dotson will not overtake Barrett since he’s coming off his shoulder injury.  Dotson will get his opportunity, when healthy, especially since he’s a above-average defender and can provide offensive support.

Let’s not forget about Allonzo Trier either.  Trier has proved he can be immediate offense off the bench.  Even when he got the starting nod last season, he made the most of his time.  Everyone knows what he brings to the table offensively.  But, if Trier can improve his defense, he makes a strong case to be the first guard off the bench.

The New York Knicks will be juggling with different guard combinations to start the season.  Fizdale will try to find what works best for the team and where he gets the most out of his guys.  Don’t expect all the guards to easily cave, it’s going to be a battle.

New York Knicks: Who will be the starting guard during the 2019-20 season?

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks starting lineup will not be set in stone any time soon.  From all of the new faces putting on a Knicks uniform, the starting lineup will be continually changing.

Here are three New York Knicks players we know will likely be in the starting lineup:

The point guard should be Dennis Smith Jr., and it is his job to lose. At power forward, Julius Randle and the new Knicks center and blocking sensation Mitchell Robinson.

After that trio, the shooting guard and small forward positions are up for grabs.

Damyean Dotson was a strong candidate to begin the season as the starting shooting guard. However, due to his right shoulder not fully healed, Dotson might not be ready for the start of the season. That leaves it wide open for other players.

Next up would be, Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina or RJ Barrett.  It is going to come down to who performs better during camp and the preseason. The same goes for the small forward position.

However, since trading away Tim Hardaway Jr. in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Knicks are without a go-to scorer.  Hardaway Jr. was not the best go-to option, but it was feasible for the time.

Ntilikina is coming off a strong performance in the FIBA World Cup for France. His offensive production improved, but you would not know that from just looking at his stats. Ntilikina averaged 19.5 minutes, shot 43.6% from the field while averaging 8 points per game. His numbers do not reflect the aggressiveness and confident outlook he gained through the World Cup.

Ntilikina could a reliable option to start at shooting guard since he brings an excellent defensive approach to the starting lineup.

The Knicks are looking forward to Trier taking a big step forward this season. Well, the Knicks are looking for a lot of their guys to make a big leap forward.  Everyone knows that Trier can score, but it is the defense that will need to improve this camp and preseason to let him be a starter.

Then, there is the 3rd overall pick Barrett. The skills and potential are there, but not at an NBA level yet.  It will take time for him to develop a more consistent shot.  His confidence grew as the Vegas summer league rolled on, so fans know he is just scratching the surface.

Some fans would want to see Barrett start immediately since he was the 3rd pick.  Also, he appears to be more mature then people think and if he wants to learn the hard way then what better way to toss him into the fire in the NBA.

Our picks for shooting guard who be to first start with Ntilikina.  Show him that you have the confidence in him, stemming from the World Cup to be a starter in the league.  He needs trust in his coach and player to succeed.  If that does not work, juggle Barrett and Trier until you find the right fit.

Coach David Fizdale will be experimenting with the lineup a lot at the beginning of the year.  Smith Jr., Randle, and Robinson appear to be the only three that will be the consistent starters.  It will be a battle for remaining shooting guard and small forward positions.  Fizdale will juggle with those two positions to find out what works best with the other three starting locks.

New York Knicks: Daymean Dotson out all preseason

New York Knicks, Damyean Dotson

The New York Knicks will be without the services of Daymean Dotson for the entire pre-season.  Dotson is still recovering from right shoulder surgery earlier this year.

It is also up-in-the-air if Dotson will be ready for the beginning of the season.  Dotson is still not able to participate in contract drills for an unknown timetable.

This comes as a big blow to the Knicks shooting guards.  The Knicks do not have a true healthy shooting guard on the roster at this point, with Dotson out.  Maybe Allonzo Trier?

If healthy, Dotson could have been a serious candidate to start this season.  Unfortunately, that is not the case now.

Dotson is one of the Knicks top two-way players.  He has showed that given the opportunity he can score while also providing good defense for 94 feet.

With Dotson most likely not going to start, due to his injury, the shooting guard or two position is up for grabs.

With his performance in the FIBA World Cup, this could be the opportunity that Frank Ntilikina needs.  Ntilikina should be given a chance regardless.  Rookie RJ Barrett could step into the starting role depending on how he performs in training camp, but most likely he will start on the bench.

Trier will put up a fight for the two position along with Wayne Ellington.  Trier would get the nod as long as his defense improves as Ellington is more of a 3-point specialist.

There will be a lot of battles for certain starting positions.  Dotson not being fully ready-to-go opens the door for others to capture the moment.  Nothing is set in stone, according to coach David Fizdale.  The starting line-ups will be juggled a lot at the beginning of the season until Fizdale finds what works best for the Knicks.

This is the key for the New York Knicks to make the playoffs

New York Knicks, Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier believes their is only one thing that the New York Knicks must do make the playoffs.  At a PUMA event, Frazier said, “The key to winning is always defense to me.”

Frazier wants coach David Fizdale to turn the defense up a notch and apply full-court pressure.  The Knicks have a very deep bench, maybe one of the deepest in the league.  So with that depth, all players need to be utilized in a way that provides suffering defense for 48-minutes.

The Garden faithful does love good defense from the Knicks.  While scoring points and hitting big shots gets the crowd hyped, the fans really get behind the Knicks when they display intense, up-beat defense.  Just like about the hard-nosed 90’s Knicks.  The Garden went crazy when Ewing, Oakley and Mason defended the paint.

The Knicks added good defensive pieces to their already young roster.

Mitchell Robinson is the main piece when we talk defense.  The blocking sensation is now 100% healthy and ready to take over the center position.  Robinson hurt his knee, keeping him out of participating for team USA in the FIBA World Cup.

The Knicks added Marcus Morris, who has always provided hard-nose defense and will defend him teammates at all cost.  He is not afraid to bang down-low and get rebounds.  Morris has been the player that you hate to play against, but love when he is on your team.

Frank Ntilikina and Daymean Dotson are probably the two best overall defenders for the Knicks.  They can key on their assignment and stick to their man the entire length of the floor.

The Knicks also added Bobby Portis, a 6’11’ center averaging 8.6 total rebounds a game for his career.  He is a gritty player, who is looking to be the Sixth Man of the Year and the leader of the Knicks bench.

Frazier added, “They realize they’re not an elite team, but if they give 100 percent, they’ll get the support of the Garden. With very aggressive defense, they can make the playoffs.”  Frazier is could not be more correct with his comments.  The Knicks are already looking to shock people this season and it will start with their defense.

New York Knicks starting lineup is not decided yet

New York Knicks, David Fizdale

The New York Knicks starting lineup has not been determined yet.  Coach David Fizdale told his players just that, according to Kevin Knox.  The starting lineup is still up in the air, as it should be.

The only two players that ‘should be’ locks to start this season are Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson.  Training camp will then determine the other three starters, if Fizdale would give Randle and Robinson the nod.

According to Knox, the practices have been intense and the team is bonding.  They have been playing hard, making each other better while also growing as a family.  The team will have to fight for the spots and it appears they are already competing for such spots.

The point guard situation seems to lean towards Dennis Smith Jr.  Elfrid Payton has been working to take some of the minutes away from Smith Jr., but it is ultimately Smith Jr.’s job to lose.  He has the most potential out of all point guards.

Marcus Morris could start at the 3 position to provide a good balance on offense and defense.  He is not going to be a go-to scoring option, but he will provide solid points while being a ‘dog’ on defense.  Morris is an above average shooter in the grand scheme of things, 43% career field goal percentage.

With Smith Jr. at the 1, Morris at 3, Randle at 4 and Robinson at 5, who is the shooting guard?

This is a tricky one has the Knicks struggled having a reliable 2 guard since trading away Tim Hardaway Jr., despite questionable shots and a contract.

Rj Barrett is not good shooter to start for the Knicks yet.  In time, his shot will improve and he will become a starter for the Knicks.  Kevin Knox is too big to play the 2.  Morris could get the over nod him, depending on how he continues to improve and develop in training camp.

One viable scoring option at the 2 guard could be Daymean Dotson.  ‘Dot’ is one the Knicks best two-way players, despite Randle.  When Dotson finally got the start towards the end of the season, he was able to show his scoring capabilities.  That was in addition to providing good defensive skills on some of the opponents top play-makers.

The shooting guard will be the toughest position to determine.  That position will be played with a lot throughout the season until Fizdale finds the correct fit.  Except big battles in training with everyone pushing each other to be better and improve on the league’s worst record last season.

Who should start for the New York Knicks this season?

New York Knicks, David Fizdale

The New York Knicks have a lot of options when deciding their starting lineup.  For what we know now, Dennis Smith Jr., Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson are locks to start.  The other two spots are up for grabs.

There was a discussion, inside Empire Sports Media, about who would start between Kevin Knox and Marcus Morris.  It all depends on what type of system David Fizdale wants to run.  Taking the offensive attack and up-tempo, you go Knox.  A more defensive, gritty approach, Morris gets the nod.

If you were to start Morris over Knox, the final spot should go to RJ Barrett.  Barrett would be able to spread the floor and create his shot with Morris in the lineup.  Plus, Barrett is trying to prove the doubters wrong and help turn the Knicks around.  If Knox started, Daymean Dotson would be the preferred choice.  Dot would also spread the floor, while providing positives on both sides of the floor.  Dotson would be a upgrade in defense as compared to Barrett, for now.

You can even throw Frank Ntilikina in the fire to provide more lock down defending.  If the season does not go according to plan, Fizdale should consider starting Ntilikina since his play and confidence seems to be growing throughout the FIBA World Cup.

However, the most balanced Knicks starting lineup should consist of, Smith Jr., Ntilikina, Knox, Randle and Robinson.  Frank and Mitchell provide the elite defending on the floor, with the rest also holding their own.  Randle is the number one scoring option and Knox and Smith Jr. take the offensive leap everyone is hoping for.  The Knicks will have players to get points this season.  The area of concern is being able to sustain consistent defense from start to finish.

Some, well many, believe the Knicks are not going to be a good team this season.  When you really break it down, the Knicks have the foundations as a team to be very good and successful for years to come.  This could be the start of the come-up for the New York Knicks.

One reason the New York Knicks could make the playoffs

New York Knicks

When people talk about the NBA playoffs, the New York Knicks are not in the conversation.  The Knicks are picked to finish last in the stacked Atlantic Division.  So, making the playoffs is stretch.

However, the newest members of the Knicks, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton and Wayne Ellington confirmed that this team as a bunch of ‘dogs’.  They are referring to the team having a gritty, determined vibe that will work hard.  Ellington recently said that this Knicks squad will be looking to ‘shock’ some people with there play.

Despite talks, there are Knicks fans out there that do believe the team has a shot at making the playoffs.  Since it seems like there is a two-team race for the East, Bucks and Sixers.

If the Knicks are to make in the playoffs, their bench is going to be that one reason.

As it appears now, the Knicks have one of the best benches in the leagues.  Well, at least depth wise.  Portis already spoke on the ‘dogs’ on this team, how he wants to win the Sixth man of the year and be the bench ‘leader’.  For now, we can defer to Portis for all the bench needs.

The bench will consist of Portis, Ellington, Payton, Daymean Dotson, Taj Gibson, Kadeem Allen, Ignas  Brazdeikis and Allonzo Trier.  There will be some speculation of who starts when it comes to Marcus Morris Sr. and Kevin Knox.  For defensive purposes, Morris should start with Knox being the first player off the bench, then Portis.  But, lets table that for now.

The bench will provide energy, defense and scoring.  Offensive production from the bench should be high considering the athletic capabilities each player presents inside and beyond the arc.  Not only has the bench improved, but the 3-point shooting has improved through their off-season acquisitions.  Key additions for that Ellington and Reggie Bullock, after his surgery and rehab.

If the Knicks want any chance of making the playoffs, the bench is going to have to back up their statements.  ‘Picking up their man for 94-feet’, being ‘dogs’ and looking to ‘shock’ people.  That mentality will have to be consistent throughout the year.

The starters should be fine.  Key word should.  The bench players will pick them up, if needed, as long as everyone understands their role and they plays as team.  Experts will be looking at the benches productivity for the reason the Knicks make the playoffs, if they do.

The New York Knicks starting point guard is…

The New York Knicks have many decisions to make this off-season. One thing that Coach Fizdale needs to look at is the shooting guard position.

The Knicks need a scorer. After trading away Tim Hardaway Jr., the Knicks did not have a consistent shooting guard.

Many players have played that position.  Daymean Dotson, Allonzo Trier and Kadeem Allen are labeled as shooting guards on the roster.

With that being said, who should start the season in that position?

Coach Fizdale appears to have fallen in love with Kadeem Allen.  Allen played well for the Knicks after being called up from Westchester.  He can score, is aggressive and also provide defensive support.

Dotson can score as well and provides even better defensive coverage than Allen.  Trier is probably the best pure scorer of the three, but his defense is not as good as the other two.

However, with the Knicks lacking scorers with their current lineup, Trier might be to be the guy to start the season in the shooting guard role.

Frank Ntilikina could also be consider, however, he needs to take a giant leap on the offensive side.

The Knicks will most likely be juggling with this position again all season until they find the correct player.  Any of the four Knicks mentioned can be the consistent shooting guard.  It all depends on who wants to be the best two-way shooting guard.