Harris DeckerFor the past few weeks, people have been raising questions about the “log-jam” at shooting guard for the Knicks. With Iman Shumpert the likely starter, J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. will clearly have roles off the bench. This was made clear the other night as Hardaway Jr. put up 16 points and hit the game winning shot while Shumpert led the team in scoring, making all seven of his attempts.
I have been asked three times in two days which shooting guard the Knicks are planning to trade. What I can’t wrap my head around is why people think that this team can’t succeed with three shooting guards?
Last year, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith all shared minutes between the two guard spots. What makes this unit unique is their versatility. Shumpert has the ability to handle the point for short runs and even shift over to small forward in smaller lineups like he did down the stretch last year. Prigioni has the ability to play either guard position and thrived playing with Felton.
It is for this reason that I’d like the nonsense to stop. Instead of three point guards and two shooting guards like last year, the numbers are reversed. Mike Woodson loves to mix and match and having two point guards and three shooting guards will play right into this. The Knicks will open the season with one of the deepest front courts in the NBA paired with the defending scoring champion and an all world defender in the middle. I look at this as a half glass full situation. Instead of a ‘log jam’ I see depth.
All of that said, there is of course a chance that one of these players gets traded if a need arises somewhere else. Shooting guard is the deepest position for the Knicks and it would make the most sense to move one of these three if it meant bringing in a superstar caliber player at another position. But that’s not a pressing issue as we drive towards opening night in a few weeks.
Right now, the team has three shooting guards that are poised to play at a very high level. Let’s see how things go and hold off on the ‘let’s trade one of these guys’ talks until there is a need for them.