Notorious for their talented scorers, the Knicks are a team that can keep up with almost any team when it comes to putting up big numbers. While there are a number of one dimensional players on the team, several key pieces for the Knicks provide as much or more on defense as they do on offense.
As the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat both proved last season, winning in the NBA these days takes more than just talented scoring options. Who do you think is the most important defensive player for the Knicks heading into the 2013-14 season?
Harris DeckerTyson Chandler: Last season, the Knicks won 54 games, featured the NBA’s scoring champion and made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. This all happened while Tyson Chandler experienced the worst defensive season of his NBA career. Imagine if Chandler had been the down low stopper that he was in previous season? Would Roy Hibbert have been able to score at will? In all likelihood, a stronger defensive performance by Chandler would have led to a longer playoff run for the Knicks and that is why he is the key to the Knicks in 2013-14.
Amit BadlaniKenyon Martin: I don’t think anyone can disagree with Harris that Chandler is the most important defensive player. He is the anchor. For me, the debate is who is the second most important defensive player, and for me that is Kenyon Martin. I’m taking emphasis on the word important because Martin isn’t the Knicks second best defender (we can debate later whether that will be Shumpert or World Peace next season). Martin will be out on the floor with Andrea Bargnani or Amar’e Stoudemire, who are both known for their lackluster defense, and the rest of the second unit for around 15 minutes per game. Martin will be heavily depended on to pick up their slack.
Ben KopelmanIt is a scary thought that a guy we picked up off a trash heap less than twelve months ago could be the second most important piece to this team’s defense, Amit. While I agree TC Hustle is the key (see: Pacers series), for me, the next answer is Shump, in a landslide. The top team’s in the East have the top guards in the East and Shump is going to have to step up and slow them down for the Knicks to have any chance at making a serious push in the postseason. We have seen glimpses of it in the past, but the team — maybe unfairly — needs Iman to take turns defending opposing 1s (DRose), 2s (Wade) and 3s (Paul George) which makes him the player whose defense will be most tied to this team’s success. And it’s why I thank my lucky stars every day we didn’t deal him for Steve Nash…