New York Knicks roster 2013: More tools in the toolbox

Elsa

The New York Knicks acquired some interesting pieces despite finding themselves in a stiff financial situation with the second-highest payroll in the NBA.

Describing the roster of the New York Knicks goes something like this: it costs a lot of money, it has big egos and many interesting characters. But it includes players who have niches and know their places.

It's not that New York's roster is so different from last year, when Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to a 54-28 regular-season record. It's that the Knicks have new, capable pieces. New York traded for Toronto Raptors big man Andrea Bargnani and general manager Glen Grunwald also signed the jettisoned Lakers forward Metta World Peace, among others.

But how will they fit with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton?

Projected starters

Carmelo Anthony -- The forward is coming off the best season of his 10-year career. Anthony averaged 28.7 points per game in 2012-13 while shooting 44.9 percent overall and 37.9 percent from behind the three-point line. Now, it's a matter of whether he can keep it up. The Knicks look like last year's team in that it's likely they will continue with their small lineups that spread the floor with Anthony at power forward.

Metta World Peace --  He might be over the hill, but it's hard to see World Peace coming off the bench. He will help a small lineup rebound and give New York a bigger perimeter defender next to Iman Shumpert. He might even be just good enough of a three-point shooter -- World Peace shot 34 percent last season -- to keep defenses honest.

Tyson Chandler -- New York's ability to go small certainly is made possible by Chandler's interior defense. The center's health was an issue last year, but even when he was playing through a sore neck, he held down a defense that wasn't too shabby considering the other four players on the floor. The only questions about Chandler revolve around his health and the depth behind him.

Iman Shumpert -- It took some time for Shumpert's explosiveness to return following an ACL tear at the end of his rookie campaign. In the 2013 postseason, he looked like his old self. But this year might be a challenge for Shumpert. He's always been the perimeter defensive stopper, but with Metta World Peace helping in that regard and J.R. Smith coming off knee surgery, Shumpert might be asked to become more offensively-minded to start the season.

Raymond Felton -- Well-established in the Knicks' offense, Felton will lead a likely three-point-guard rotation for coach Mike Woodson. Felton led New York with 5.5 assists per game last season, but he also can put some of the scoring load on his shoulders when the situation calls for it.

Rotation players

J.R. Smith -- The reigning Sixth Man of the Year will begin the season on the mend from a knee surgery in mid July, and he'll also miss five games after being suspended for a drug violation. With his return set at mid-October at the earliest, it's still a wonder if the explosive bench scorer will be able to recapture the magic of last year's regular season with little time to prepare for this one. It's also a wonder if he can forget about a miserable postseason performance.

Amare Stoudemire -- Stoudemire's problematic knees make him too big of a risk to pin as a starter. With New York looking to limit his minutes to somewhere around 20 per game, the power forward could still be an effective pick-and-roll and post scorer off the bench.

Andrea Bargnani -- How Bargnani fits with Stoudemire, Chandler and Kenyon Martin will be an interesting question for Woodson. The seven-foot three-point shooter complements all three offensively, but could be a victim of opponents' offensive game planning if he doesn't have defensive help from Martin or Chandler.

Pablo Prigioni -- The Knicks re-signed the feisty Argentinian guard to back up Felton. Prigioni could also play alongside Felton and veteran point guard Beno Udrih.

Beno Udrih -- Udrih essentially takes the minutes Jason Kidd vacated. A big-bodied, experienced point guard, he will give the Knicks another set of eyes to find Bargnani, Anthony and others who are floating free outside the three-point line.

Kenyon Martin -- The Knicks brought Kenyon Martin into a tough situation last season. Signed in the middle of the season, the forward was first forced to act as Tyson Chandler's replacement at center. Things are less dire this season but he'll provide above-average defense when called upon.

Deep on the bench

Tim Hardaway Jr. -- The rookie shooting guard could find playing time when Smith is out because of suspension or a prolonged recovery from his knee problem.

Jeremy Tyler -- After a strong summer league, the big man who made his own way into the NBA -- he left high school to begin his pro career overseas -- might be the only true center aside from Chandler. Tyler could find playing time if injuries hit any of the other big men on the roster.

C.J. Leslie -- The undrafted forward out of North Carolina State impressed the Knicks enough to earn a contract. Leslie has talent, but it's still to be determined what forward position suits him best.

Toure' Murry -- Like Shumpert, Murry is a hard-nosed shooting guard who can defend and drive. He chose to join the Knicks in training camp rather than attempt to make the Miami Heat's roster.

Chris Smith -- J.R. Smith's brother is yet another young guard making a case to join the team for the regular season.

Head Coach

Mike Woodson -- Woodson is coming off his most successful season as an NBA head coach. He found new ways to use Carmelo Anthony and had a team underrated on defense, at least in terms of who is on the roster and how many injuries hit. In 2013-14, he will be challenged with finding out how to use a stretch big man in Bargnani and how to incorporate World Peace.

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