The Knicks have won seven straight games and have the league in the palm of their hands thanks to Linsanity. So what do they do? They go out and add a player of questionable character in JR Smith. Hmmmm...
Let's get to the pickups:
1. J.R. Smith, SG, FA - Smith will start off as a backup swingman behind Carmelo Anthony and Landry Fields. Iman Shumpert will shift to a backup point guard role and also see some time as a swingman with the second unit. In other words, expecting more than 25 minutes per game for Smith is not realistic. Last year, Smith played 24.9 minutes off the bench for the Nuggets. he averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 3-pointers and 1.2 steals. That's the ceiling now.
2. Gustavo Ayon, PF/C, NO - Ayon is a scrappy shot-blocker that is getting a chance thanks to injuries to Jason Smith (concussion), Carl Landry (knee) and Emeka Okafor (knee). Ayon should push for two blocks per game over the next two weeks.
3. Ersan Ilyasova, PF, MIL - Ilyasova came off the bench over the last 10 games and averaged 12.0 points, 9.1 rebs, 1.2 blocks and 0.6 3PM. That's earned him a promotion into the starting five.
4. Corey Brewer, SF, DEN - With Danilo Gallinari (ankle) out a month, Brewer is locked into the starting five. Averaging 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals in that role this year.
5. Semih Erden, C, CLE - This one is for the extreme deep-leaguers out there. Anderson Varejao (wrist) is out 4-6 weeks and Erden is the starting center. The problem is his talent level -- we'll see if he's improved at all.