The New York Knicks new head coach Derek Fisher is already faced with a problem as he gets his team ready for the regular season. He has to find a way to play Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, two of the Knicks’ highest-paid players.
Both power forwards are in the final year of their contracts, with Stoudemire making $US23.4 million and Bargnani making $US11.5 million this season. Combined, they will make $US34.9 million, which is more than half of the total salary cap and over one-third of the Knicks’ payroll.
Playing Stoudemire and Bargnani is problematic because of their redundant skills. They’re both skilled scorers who don’t often pass, rebound, or defend well. Last season, the Knicks were outscored by six points per 100 possessions with Stoudemire or Bargnani on the floor. When the two shared the court, that number jumped to more than 10 points per 100 possessions.
Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal suggested the Knicks use a “platoon” system, alternating Stoudemire and Bargnani on a night-to-night basis, playing just one of them one night, and swapping the next.
The Knicks might be able to make up for both players’ lackluster tendencies if they can play them one at a time, but playing both players each night will likely mean sacrificing the minutes of more well-rounded, productive players.
There’s a sort of unspoken protocol in sports about playing the team’s highest-paid players; either they’re the best players on the team, or teams want to get use out of their investments.. It’s a big test for Derek Fisher, who will have to be creative in managing his lineups .
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