Alan Hahn points out a minor defensive adjustment the Knicks have made to ease the transition from the first to the second unit. Amar’e Stoudemire’s defensive struggles haven’t been aided playing alongside the likes of Steve Novak and some of the other bench regulars, so Woodson has juggled the minutes somewhat creatively between Chandler and Stoudemire, as Hahn notes:
Though starts have been an issue for the Knicks, Woodson has been reluctant to make a chance to the starting lineup. But he did tweak his rotation to help in an area of greater concern: soft second quarters.
So he made a change in Tyson Chandler’s shifts during the game. While Chandler used to play the entire first quarter, then rest to start the second quarter until about the seven-minute mark, now he plays half the first quarter and starts the second.
That puts him on the floor with the second unit, when Steve Novak is often attacked at the four spot. Chandler’s presence helps in pick-and-roll coverage and, most importantly, with communication. The second unit has sorely missed Rasheed Wallace, who was a big part of the defensive consistency in the early part of the season.
Kenyon Martin is soon expected to take up that role, and, along with the impending return of Marcus Camby, that should allow Chandler to return to his usual minutes rotation.
This sounds like a worthy adjustment to me, and it will be interesting to see how it goes until they are able to work Rasheed, Camby or Martin into the mix. The guy I’d most like to see back is Wallace — which still feels sorta weird to say — as he really was a useful presence off the bench early in the season. But at this point, no matter what the team may be saying, it’s hard to get overly optimistic about a possible Wallace return. That being said, if they could find a way to get Camby or Martin playing well, it would definitely help mitigate the defensive issues on the second unit.