NEW YORK –The Knicks have seven wins in a row headed into Friday’s contest against New Orleans but one can still look at New York as a team in transition.
Amare Stoudemire just returned. Carmelo Anthony could be back Sunday against the Mavericks, and Knicks are still waiting for Baron Davis (back) and Josh Harellson (broken wrist) suit up. And the Knicks just added J.R. Smith.
That’s a lot of shooters in the lineup and not as many minutes to go around. Steve Novak, who has seen his playing time jump because of injuries and Jeremy Lin’s emergence, doesn’t seem worried about how all the pieces are going to fit.
“I think it just seems like a lot of good things are falling in place this year,” the sharp-shooting forward said. “Obviously the way Jeremy is playing is a huge, huge key to it. He’s just kind of got guys the ball and created so much. That’s really the big thing. Whoever you put out there he’s going to make them look good, not matter who it is.”
Soon it’s going to be Smith, a former teammate of Anthony in Denver, who has never been shy about shooting. Smith first tweeted his intention to join the Knicks Friday morning when he returns to the NBA from China, where he played during the lockout. Questions have already started to swirl about playing time will be distributed.
Smith, who is from New Jersey and played at St. Benedict’s Prep under coach Danny Hurley, adds another explosive scorer to the roster and has shown the ability to light it up from 3-point range.
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said that everyone will see their court-time decrease some. But that could mean even less time for guys like Novak, who had played a total of four minutes in the four games before Lin got his first career-start against Utah Feb. 6 -- a game where Novak scored 19 points in 17 minutes with five 3-pointers.
Adding Smith certainly makes the Knicks a deeper team, something that will be essential as the Knicks hope to make a deep playoff run in a condensed season. And in D’Antoni’s free-flowing system, there can never been enough shooters.
“Obviously, the way that J.R. spreads the floor is going to be extremely helpful,” Novak said. “But there’s never too much of a good thing. Well, I guess sometimes there is, but in this case I think it’s a very good thing.”