Monday, March 19, 2012

Why the Knicks should sign Ronny Turiaf

Around the trade deadline, the Knicks were talking making a move to increase their front court. The current set of players were suited well for the high paced D'Antoni system, but coach Mike Woodson's scheme values size and defense over speed. Right now heart of the Knicks interior line-up is Amare Stoudamire, Tyson Chandler, and Jared Jeffries. Rookie Josh Harrellson and second year man Jerome Jordan are sometimes included in this mix and both are decent in their roles. Harrellson is a strong shooter with pretty good interior defensive skills. But Jordan is a work in progress, who has spent some time in the D-League, but has looked impressive during that stint. Many of these players have missed games this season (and in the past) due to injury, most notably Jeffries who has missed 14 games. Stoudamire and Chandler, throughout their careers have missed major amounts of time but have been relatively healthy in the past few seasons.

Right now the New York lineup is unbalanced with 7 players in the backcourt and only 8 players in the front court including injured swingman Bill Walker that can play either at guard or forward. At power forward and center, the Knicks only really have the four players. Steve Novak is listed at power forward, but because of his range and skill set, he is better suited at small forward. So if the Knicks were to lose any of their big men they could be extremely vulnerable around the basket. Especially if the relatively untested Jordan was forced into major minutes or if Novak was forced to play closer to the basket. Since the trade deadline has passed, the Knicks only option is to cut a player and sign another.

The Knicks are in a good position to sign talented players that were cut after trades. One such player is Ronny Turiaf, who was traded to Denver from Washington in the JaVale McGee deal, but was just recently cut to make a roster spot for (also former Knick) Wilson Chandler. Turiaf has only seen action in four games this season, and is currently recovering from a broken hand but was expecting to return soon before the trade. He played for the Knicks last season, providing solid minutes and solid defense for New York. His defense could be even more valuable in the new system. With the Knicks he was capable of providing a spark of the bench as well as talented defensive skills.

But if  the Knicks want to sign Turiaf, they need to move quick. New York isn't the only team looking for a big man. Several teams have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Turiaf including the Celtics, Mavs, and Heat. Earlier today, Boston said that they are in the process of acquiring a big man. But it doesn't look like it is Turiaf. It's not clear how much Miami, or Dallas are looking at Turiaf, but he would be a strong addition to either team.

The Knicks would have to cut a player to add Turiaf. The smartest move would be to cut one of New York's four point guards. The top two candidates would be Mike Bibby or Toney Douglas. Douglas was previously mentioned as a possible candidate for trade but nothing ever came of the rumors. He is the younger player with better potential to grow more in the system. Bibby, on the other hand, has just started seeing more minutes as a result of an injury to Baron Davis. As of now, Bibby is more valuable as a veteran, especially in the playoffs where he has played in a hundred games. However, Bibby is likely in the final years of his career whereas Douglas has more future value. But either way, both have seen wavering minutes in the past month, and neither is expected to get many minutes while Lin, Shumpert, and Davis are in NYC.

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