Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Who can the Knicks lean on as a secondary scorer with Amare Stoudemire out?
Last season, Amare Stoudemire was out for a 13-game stretch late in the regular season.
Carmelo Anthony moved from small forward to power forward in Stoudemire's absence, and took over.
He won the NBA's Player of the Month award in April by averaging nearly 30 points per game on 49 percent shooting.
The Knicks were 9-4 when Stoudemire was out. But one issue arose during that span: the Knicks were missing a consistent second scoring option.
So, with Stoudemire out 2-3 weeks with a ruptured left cyst in the back of his knee, the question presents itself again: who will step up as a secondary scoring option?
Let's take a look at a few candidates:
Raymond Felton: Prior to Monday night, Felton had been pretty quiet on the offensive end in the preseason. He shot less than 40 percent from the floor in the Knicks' first four games. But Felton exploded for 23 points in Syracuse against the Sixers on Monday. He hit 5 of 7 3-pointers. If he can shoot like that early in the regular season (he shot well from 3-point land with the Knicks in 2010-11, hitting 41 percent), Felton could emerge as a secondary threat.
J.R. Smith: You'd think Smith would be a no-brainer to fill the scoring void for Stoudemire. But he was inconsistent as the Knicks' secondary scorer last season durning Stoudemire's absence. There were nights when he emerged as a legitimate No. 2 option and others when he struggled. He'll miss the Knicks' final four preseason games due to an Achillies injury. The Knicks hope Smith can bounce back during team scrimmages prior to opening night.
Chris Copeland: The rookie has been the pleasant surprise of the preseason. At the beginning of camp, many thought there would be a battle for the 15th spot on the Knicks' roster. But it appears Copeland has locked that spot up with a strong offensive showing. In preseason games in which he played more than 15 minutes, Copeland has scored 23 points. He exploded for 34 points against Boston and had 15 against Philadelphia. So, we know he can score. The problem for Copeland, as some have noted, has been an inconsistent showing on defense and on the boards.