The Knicks officially signed Rasheed Wallace yesterday to a non-guaranteed deal. Today, Kurt Thomas turns 40. The two players offer defensive intensity, solid rebounding, and advanced age or experience, depending on how you view the proverbial glass.
They’ve got doubles, to use the phrase we did growing up collecting baseball cards.
But this has to be a deliberate strategy on the part of the Knicks, who had talent last season, but were intensely vulnerable to injury, because they didn’t really have a Plan B for any of their players. A good example is Tyson Chandler, who turned the Knicks into a top-five defensive unit. But the Knicks were an utter wreck defensively in the four games Chandler missed.
So this summer, the Knicks brought in Marcus Camby, who was essentially the closest facsimile to Chandler available on the open market. Chandler was vital to the success of last year’s team. Now they’ve got doubles.
The same is true for Iman Shumpert. Once he exited Game 1 of the Miami series with his knee injury, the Knicks were utterly without answers for perimeter defense. In comes Ronnie Brewer, a player of similar size and skill to Shumpert. In Shumpert, the Knicks had a defensive weapon they deployed with great success last season. Now they’ve got doubles.
The Knicks even brought in John Shurna, a tall, lanky sharpshooter from a midwestern school whose limitations on the defensive end will probably make him a bench option. In other words, they added doubles for Steve Novak.
Now, do they have two of everything? No. There’s one Carmelo Anthony, one Amar’e Stoudemire. And both will get to shoot the ball because, mercifully, the Knicks have a single J.R. Smith.
But behind Raymond Felton, the Knicks have a veteran point guard, an extremely precise passer lauded for his court awareness.
Do I mean Jason Kidd? Do I mean Pablo Prigioni?
I mean both. The Knicks have doubles.