The Knicks return home to the Garden tomorrow night (Friday) to face the Sacramento Kings fresh off of four-game road trip out west.
They were somewhat bloodied, but still unbowed after playing without Danilo Gallinari, who is recovering from a left knee sprain sustained on January 2nd at MSG versus the Indiana Pacers.
Gallinari’s absence, particularly in the Knicks’ 109-87 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, illuminated the Knicks’ lack of interior presence and consistently strong bench play.
While they remain a key component of the Carmelo Anthony saga, and certainly need a player of Anthony’s gravitas to attain their long-term goal of becoming a championship contender, for the moment, the Knicks’ immediate necessity is a productive big body to pair with Amar’e Stoudemire.
They were outrebounded by the Lakers 61-42.
While center Ronny Turiaf provides the Knicks with toughness and energy, he is a player who relies solely on hustle and has limited skills, especially on the offensive end of the floor where he is essentially a non-entity.
Forward Shawne Williams, at 6-9 and 225, has the size to alleviate some of the Knicks interior issues, but he is primarily a perimeter player. Williams has been a viable contributor off the bench after being an afterthought for the first month of the season.
Knicks president Donnie Walsh signed Williams as a free-agent in September, four years after drafting him in the first round (17th overall ) out of Memphis for the Indiana Pacers in 2006.
Williams didn’t make his Knicks regular season debut until November 28, but has been a mainstay in the rotation ever since.
“I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of a winning team,” said Williams prior to the Knicks departing for their recent road trip, during which they challenged the Phoenix Suns, Lakers, Portland Trailblazers and concluded with the Utah Jazz last night (Wednesday).
“I feel comfortable playing in this system,” expressed Williams. Coach (Mike D’Antoni) allows you to take advantage of your strengths and as a team we have great chemistry.”
Indeed the Knicks have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship that has been a catalyst for their strong showing thus far. But they must add an interior player who can score and defend. Two former Knicks, Marcus Camby of the Trailblazers and Jared Jeffries, presently with the Houston Rockets, are logical options.