While the whole of the NBA were waiting on Dwight Howard to the Nets deal, the New York Knicks didn’t stop. Although none of the players acquired will cause waves like the 28 teams and 230 athletes trade the
New JerBrooklyn Nets offered for Howard, the Knicks are stronger.
The Knicks kept Steve Novak and J.R. Smith and brought Marcus Camby back, to help Tyson Chandler with rebounds, blocks and defense.
But, are those changes enough? *spoken like the old Batman series presenter, starring Adam West*
The Camby Man Can?
Marcus Camby was a part of New York’s 1999 Eastern Conference Champion team. He arrives with a 3 years, US$13.2 million contract. The sign-and-trade that landed Camby in New York sent Toney Douglas, Josh “Jorts” Harrelson, Jerome Jordan, two 2nd round draft picks (one in 2014 another in 2015), and money that will be used to pay for Toney’s salary in the next season.
Camby is 37 years old but, with Tyson Chandler in the roster, he’s not here to take over the paint, but to help with valuable minutes while the Defensive Player of the Year rests, or is in foul trouble.
His contract is a little bit too long for a 37 year old player, but it’s not like the Knicks had anywhere else to run to. Since Amar’e Stoudemire refuses to help on the boards, the Knicks need to protect the paint while Chandler is on the bench, or they are having trouble rebounding.
Camby played 22.9 minutes per game last season. He grabbed 9 rebounds per game (2.7 offensive boards per game). When you look at his per 36 minutes averages, his rpg soars to amazing 14.1 per 36min. Some help for a team that finished 15th in offensive boards and 18th in defensive boards in the League.
Camby had 1.4 blocks per game – 2.3 blocks per 36min. The Knicks finished 27th in bpg in the last season.
It’s a good deal for the Knicks. Only a little bit over 2 years of Camby’s contract are guaranteed and they got rid of a big problem in Toney Douglas. Fans didn’t like Jorts leaving, but it reminds me of their gripe with Timofey Mozgov’s inclusion in Carmelo Anthony’s trade: a good big man, but will never really have a great future. Good to have around. Not irreplaceable.
Novak had a breakthrough season. For the second time in his career he averaged more than 8.6 minutes per game (18.9 mpg with the Knicks, 16.4 mpg with the Houston Rockets in 2008-09). Novak led the Knicks, and the NBA, in 3 points FG% (.472%).
His eFG% (Efficiency Field Goal. Takes into account that 3 pointers are worth one more point than 2 pointers) is .675%.
Novak will stay with the Knicks in a 4 years, US$15 millions contract. His paycheck jumped from US$992,680 last season to US$3.75 millions per year. A little bit over the top for a player whom cannot create his own shot. But, in this case, the Knicks would leave a great shooter to another team, had they not signed Novak to this contract. Now, they gotta root for Novak to keep his shooting up.
Dr. J.R. & Mr. Smith
Oh, J.R. Typical case of “if he keeps his mind in the game, he can become a great player”. But he never seems to do it. Smith will be back for 2 years, second year being a player’s option and his first year will pay US$2.8 millions.
Whatever the Knicks overpaid for Novak, they saved on Smith.
Smith is still a player that can bring your team back to the game, or take it out of it with his crazy shot selection.
His performance during the Playoffs was one of the reasons Anthony stopped passing and tried to do everything by himself. Smith went from hitting .347% of his 3 pointers in the regular season – eFG% .490 – to .179 in the Playoffs – eFG% .349.
Still, for US$2.8 millions, that’s a nice price tag.
The Knicks added Jason Kidd and are trying to trade Dan Gadzuric. But, this is a story for another day.