W2W4: Knicks vs. Bucks
October, 30, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Here are a few things to keep an eye on Wednesday night when the New York Knicks open the regular season against the Milwaukee Bucks:
Melo at PF? Mike Woodson isn't sure yet who's going to start against Milwaukee, but he's leaning toward starting Anthony at power forward.
Anthony, you might remember, had plenty of success at power forward last season. He played 48 percent of the Knicks' minutes at the 4. The mismatches afforded to him at power forward helped Anthony average an NBA-high 28.7 points per game. So it makes sense that Woodson would like to play Anthony at the position again.
If Anthony plays power forward, Metta World Peace will likely start at small forward. In that scenario, Andrea Bargnani will begin his Knicks career on the bench.
Fresh start for Bargs: Bargnani was booed mercilessly on his home court for most of last season in Toronto. So Wednesday is the first game of a fresh start of sorts for the former No. 1 pick.
It would behoove Bargnani to get off to a fast start in a Knick uniform.
The 7-footer struggled mightily in the preseason, shooting just 38 percent from the floor. He missed 12 of his 15 3-point attempts. The Knicks were outscored by 65 points while Bargnani was on the floor. So Knicks fans may have a short leash with him.
Bringing him off the bench could be beneficial. With J.R. Smith suspended for the first five games of the season due to a violation of the NBA's anti-drug policy, the Knicks will need bench scoring. Maybe Bargnani can fill the void?
What about STAT? Amar'e Stoudemire will suit up for the Knicks on Wednesday, but it's unclear if he will play in the game. Woodson plans to alternate Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin on back-to-back sets and, maybe, on a game-to-game basis.
The coach said he will huddle with Stoudemire and Martin on Wednesday morning to discuss the plan for the Bucks game.
Both have been nursing injuries in the preseason. Stoudemire is rehabbing after a knee procedure over the summer, his third in the past 12 months. Martin is still bothered by an ankle injury he suffered in April. Stoudemire and Martin will be limited to 10-15 minutes per game initially.
Defense rests? We'll get our first look at New York's defense against a Milwaukee backcourt featuring O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight. So it should be an interesting test.
Last season, the Knicks struggled to contain opposing point guards, particularly on pick-and-rolls. That allowed opposing guards to penetrate the lane and create open looks for their teammates.
Woodson hopes the perimeter defense can tighten up now that Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony and other veterans have been under his system for more than two seasons.
Metta World Peace and a healthy Iman Shumpert should help as well.
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