Despite a less than stellar January, the New York Knicks remain one of the top teams in the East, trailing the Miami Heat by four games through the first 50 contests of the season. While it is going to be difficult to catch Miami at this point in the season, the Knicks do have to worry about the two teams right behind them in the standings, the Pacers and the Nets. With the trade deadline looming, New York could be trying to work out a deal that will help them hold off their top challengers in the East.The Knicks rely heavily on the scoring of the scoring of Carmelo Anthony, who has been much more efficient as the team’s starting power forward. However, while he was a dominant rebounder for a small forward, he has a harder time competing for boards in the post, and the Knicks’ rebounding numbers are not very impressive. Injuries to Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace only compounded the issue, while Amar’e Stoudemire was never a strong rebounder. If the Knicks make any moves before the deadline, they could target a dependable low post rebounder to take some of the burden off All-Star center Tyson Chandler. While San Antonio’s DeJuan Blair carries a bit of injury risk, the former Pitt star has proven to be a good rebounder, and is unlikely to re-sign with the Spurs when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Knicks’ best tradable asset is guard Iman Shumpert, who just returned last month after tearing his ACL in the playoffs against the Heat. Regarded as one of the league’s best defensive guards as a rookie last year, Shumpert could have a lot of value to teams looking for a shooting guard who can defend multiple positions and handle the ball on occasion. However, he is the team’s only real young building block at this point, so the Knicks may be wise in holding onto him and see if he can regain some of the form he showed last year. Ronnie Brewer is another player who could be traded, especially since Shumpert has largely taken over his responsibilities as defensive stopper.
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