by Will Overton
This season has not been what the New York Knicks and their fans expected that it would be. It’s been a season wrought with inconsistent play, consistently bad play and injuries. The guys that the Knicks thought they had around Carmelo have failed miserably and now Carmelo himself is on the shelf indefinitely.
J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are now playing in Cleveland and Samuel Dalembert has been waived, it’s been that kind of a season so far. Outside of Carmelo Anthony the only player on this team owned in more than 25% of leagues right now is Amar’e Stoudemire and oh by the way, he’s hurt too.
The question for fantasy owners is this; Is there anything to salvage from the wreckage? Amidst all the bad in New York right now is there under the radar fantasy value among all of the Knicks who are floating around the waiver wire. Let’s take a look at some potential options.
The Best Option – Cole Aldrich, C: At this point if I can only add one guy from the Knicks it’s going to be Cole Aldrich. The big man has taken on the center job mostly by default after Sam Dalembert was waived and Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani got hurt. Aldrich has done well, or at least well enough, with the job that he should be able to keep it.
Aldrich is clearly limited on offense, but he’s done enough down low to manage 9.5 PPG in his last ten games. He just needs to score enough to support his real contributions which are his 8.3 RPG, 1.1 BPG and 1.2 SPG in his last ten. I can’t say I expect long term success from Aldrich, but I think he holds a decent amount of value this season at a position that can be hard to fill on the waiver wire a lot of times.
The Golden Opportunity – Tim Hardaway Jr, SG: This is the guy who should be benefiting more than anyone and should be a must own in all formats if he could put it together. The Knicks essentially handed him the starting shooting guard job on a silver platter when they traded away J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. With Carmelo Anthony also hurt this should be the guy leading the offense, but he hasn’t seemed up to the task. Hardaway is shooting just 37% in January games and is averaging 11.6 PPG.
The Knicks do have some other options at guard, but none of them are nearly as talented as Hardaway. The problem is he doesn’t seem to have the makeup of an alpha dog on offense. Hardaway seems to be better off as a second, third or fourth option on offense as a role player. I think when Melo comes back to play alongside of Hardaway he’ll actually be better off at that point and you’ll see some of his numbers go up. He doesn’t contribute in enough categories to be a must own, but he has a golden opportunity to prove his worth this season if he can put it together.
The Under The Radar Guy – Quincy Acy, SF: Which New York Knicks leads the team in scoring in the month of January, it’s Quincy Acy. While he is replacing Carmelo Anthony, his 11.7 PPG this month aren’t exactly Melo-esque, but it is enough to make him the leading scorer as of late. Acy has actually been a nice fantasy piece all-around adding in 7.5 RPG and 1.0 SPG in the month of January as well. His value will take a hit when Melo comes back, but I could see the Knicks going small and using him next to Anthony, especially if he can maintain this kind of rebounding numbers.
The Sleeper Add – Cleanthony Early, SF: Here’s one guy I think should be getting a long, hard look in dynasty leagues and in deep leagues. The Knicks took Early in the second round of this year’s draft and many thought they got a steal. So far Early hasn’t played enough minutes to make a difference for fantasy owners, but that may change now. Early has 23.2 MPG in his last six games 7.8 PPG, 1.2 SPG and 1.1 3PG. The Knicks know this season is a lost cause at this point and they need to see what they have in their young guys. No offense to the likes of Acy or Jason Smith, but it’s more important for Early to be getting those minutes. Again the presence of Carmelo Anthony may shake things up some, but Early should continue seeing decent minutes as backup to both forwards spots, even when Anthony comes back. I think the Knicks may have a solid player in Early and they need to figure it out by giving him the minutes he needs.