NEW YORK -- The vibe at the Knicks' training facility on Monday was that Baron Davis would be out at least five weeks with a herniated disc in his back.
But, while Davis chatted up assistant coach Herb Williams during practice while bouncing an ab ball behind his back, that didn't hinder the excitement from Tarrytown to talk radio -- not only because B-Diddy is as crafty a ball-handler as Diddy is in the recording studio. No matter what happens through roughly the first 20 games, come February, when Davis is slated to be healthy and start at the one, the team will have sufficient time to fight for the second seed in the East behind the Heat.
With that said, it's not too early to start talking main-roster stat projections, now that every position is nearly filled. Utilizing Basketball Prospectus' SCHOENE system, which essentially analyzes per-possession, or per-shot rate stats, and the team's pace to produce realistic player averages, ESPNNewYork.com updated its stat lines for the Knicks. Here are the averages for the team's current 12 strong (sorted by highest points per game):
*Current starting pg
**Potential starting pg
Regarding Davis' 8.7 points per game, even when he gets back, he's most likely going to need room to get up to speed. That's why Douglas should maintain his 12.8 points per game. Davis could also be in and out of the lineup certain nights, especially with the cramped schedule the way it is and the fact that he's returning from a mid-season injury. That will impact his offensive production.
One other main observation, in addition to some I made a few days ago: Don't be surprised if Shumpert and Walker's point averages switch. Shumpert is quickly moving up the charts and will likely steal some of Skywalker's minutes. The rookie could even cut into Fields' court appearances. The main difference will be who's ever knocking them down.
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