As the Knicks' struggles continue, it's clear changes are necessary. With the team in need of some sort of injection of life, it may be worth throwing Mindaugas Kuzminskas into the mix a bit more aggressively and giving the NBA rookie more minutes.
Kuzminskas has shot well and always seems to produce when given more playing time. Shooting just over 40 percent from the three-point line, he's already exhibited the type of prowess from deep the Knicks had been hoping to get from Lance Thomas when the season began.
As an international veteran seeing his first action on the NBA hardwood this season, Kuzminskas tends to catch opposing defenses off guard. That's a good thing. There's great fluidity to his game, as he's someone who is always on the move.
Already 27 years old, the forward knows how to keep the defense guessing. He's difficult to cover and loves eventually spotting up to knock down shots from either corner after freeing up from his man.
Most recently, the Knicks' ball movement has slowed and the offense subsequently falls stagnant. Players are left standing around waiting for others to make something happen. But that ceases to happen as often with Kuzminskas on the court. His ability to move opens up the floor and causes others to wake up and move around in conjunction.
Even more importantly for a player like Carmelo Anthony is that Kuzminskas serves as a consistent long-range threat that the defense needs to account for. His presence spreads the floor and creates more room for Anthony to go to work. If the defense falls back on Kuzminskas too often in favor of someone like Anthony or Derrick Rose, he'll make them pay.
Through 28 appearances, Kuzminskas' ability to score is a bit more proven. He shoots well and can even drive through the lane if he sees an opportunity. The forward doesn't hesitate and likes to be aggressive. The confidence is there. He might not be as polished defensively, but there's certainly room for exploration.
New York needs better defense and more intensity when it comes to containing some of the elite offensive wing players across the league. As previously mentioned, Kuzminskas isn't an everyday rookie. He's already had experience working in pressure-filled situations, tasked with defending quality players.
What's more, his 6'9", 215 pound frame could provide the Knicks with a huge advantage. He's lengthy, has the potential to defend multiple positions, and already has strong lateral quickness.
In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Knicks are looking for answers and pondering if they have the pieces to remain competitive in all aspects.
Before making any sudden moves, it's worth exploring the assets they already have available to them. Given the problems they've faced as of late, playing Kuzminskas more could provide the team with a necessary boost.