27 December 2011
What a great opening day for the NBA. It was a day that reminded us all what we've been missing out on and how watching games is better than reading about arguments on how to split money between the rich and richer. First up, the Knicks played the Celtics. A thrilling opening game showcasing a number of big signings and a new look line up for the Knicks. The Knicks started a front court of Melo, Stoudemire and Chandler for their first regular season game. This is how their stats looked:
(Source: 'Boston at New York', www.sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore, Dec 25, 2011)
In 2012 look for Melo to remain huge offensively. He won't average 37 and 8 but he will be a contender for the scoring title. In Melo's best year at Denver he averaged 28 points 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists and combined steals and blocks of 1.7. I would not be surprised to see a better stat line in 2011/12. Since joining the Knicks, Melo has hit 2 threes per game at 42%. This is up from less that 1 per game at 33% at Denver.
Chandler will play big minutes in 2012. Unlike the Mavs, the Knicks don't have many options at center other Amare. He averaged 27 mins in 74 games for the Mavs. On opening night he played 36 mins. This could mean a increase in rebounds and blocks (Don't ask me how he got 3 rebounds in 36 mins). Chandler is quite limited offensively and without an elite quarterback like Jason Kidd running show, easy points off lobs won't be so plentiful. Last year he averaged 10 ppg 9.6 rpg and combined blocks and steals of 1.6. I would expect in 35 mins he would average 10.5 points, 11 rebound and combined blocks and steals of 2 to 2.5.
Stoudemire will benefit from not being the primary scoring option. One of the biggest drawbacks from STAT last season was his huge amount of TOs. STAT averaged a career high 3.2 TOs per game. A lot of this had to do with teams send second and third defenders his way. Melo takes away the ability of teams to double team Amare. Look for STAT to average close to 25 ppg and 8 rpg with 2 to 2.5 TOs per game with better percentages than 2011. 2011 saw STAT double his blocks to 2 per game. This is likely to drop with Chandler up front and less minutes at center. STAT averaged 1 bpg at Phoenix, so look to see production somewhere around 1.5 bpg.
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