The New York Knicks are now 2-1 in the early stages of the NBA preseason, and while preseason success can be blow out of porportiom a bit, it serves as a regular season simulator for younger players. The Knicks are a team currently seeing what they have in the backend of their roster. They have a quartette of players battling for the final two roster spots.
The Knicks signed Ron Baker to a non guaranteed deal on draft night to allow him to compete for a roster spot. Baker, the four year Wichita State guard, is known for his perimeter presence both offensively and defensively. So far, Baker hasn’t played a lot of minutes, but he’s been efficient. He’s shot 60 percent from three, and has been perfect from the free throw line.
Baker’s skill set reminds you of Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver. Korver is well known as being one of the league’s best perimeter shooters, and he also has a very underrated defensive game.
Baker has shown some potential on both ends of the floor, but there is a big roadblock he has to overcome. While in theory Baker should be able to make the roster, team president Phil Jackson happens to be very fond of veteran shooting guard Sasha Vujacic. Vujacic would have to be cut to make room for Baker at shooting guard, and the Knicks lack of point guard depth may lead to him finding a spot on the Westchester Knicks.
Ron Baker will all but likely not make this roster due to the presence of point guard Chasson Randle. Randle, the four year Stanford guard, has shown potential two way talent. He’s shown the ability to be an aggressive playmaker who can find his teammates, and he has also played solid defensively. With the limited depth the Knicks have at the point guard position, and the injury history of point guards Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, Randle should definitely be on the Knicks roster.
After a stint with the Knicks summer league team a year ago, the Knicks have brought back forward Maurice Ndour, and he’s making a name for himself. N’Dour has provided energy on both ends of the floor, with his ability to play above the rim, and his swarming defense; however, he may be another odd man out. Currently, the Knicks only have two big men who aren’t rookies in Kyle O’Quinn and Lou Amundson, which makes N’Dour unlikely to make the roster. It’s not a knock on N’Dour, but the Knicks can only have so many rookie big men on their roster, and bigs such as Marshall Plumlee are more of a necessity.
Four year Duke center Marshall Plumlee is another player battling for a roster spot on this Knicks unit. Much like his brothers Mason Plumlee and Miles Plumlee, Marshall Plumlee is a high flying defensive spark. He can finish in the paint, above the rim, and is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end of the floor. The Knicks only have one center to backup Joakim Noah in Willy Hernangomez, which makes Plumlee a must have. Marshall Plumlee will all but likely be dawning the orange and blue come opening night.
The Knicks have to cut ties with some of their younger players in order to put the final touches on their roster; however, some of these players can be placed on the Knicks D-League affiliate in Westchester, New York. Players such as Ron Baker and Maurice Ndour may highly benefit from that, as their potential roles on this Knicks team appear to be unclear. In all likelihood, Chasson Randle and Marshall Plumlee will earn the final two roster spots on this Knicks team.