My answer: Who cares?
There’s been a lot of discussion recently over who will start at center for the Knicks. Jared Zwerling of ESPN NY does a nice job concisely recapping the situation. While Marc Berman of the New York Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News chronicle Mike D’Antoni’s growing admiration for Timofey Mozgov.
Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter who starts because Turiaf, Mozgov, and Randolph are all going to log minutes at the center spot. You really don’t want Turiaf playing more than 20-25 minutes per night. As D’Antoni told The Post’s Berman, “Ronny’s going to be an energy guy, block shots, very good defensively.” Bottom line: you don’t want your energy guy logging big minutes, no matter how awesome his twitter account.
Mozgov looks the part and seems like he would be a great fit in D’Antoni’s offense due to his impressive mobility, motor, and touch around the basket. However, Mozgov is still very new to the game of basketball and as a result he is still working on refining his skills and staying out of foul trouble. The language barrier is also an issue. Normally, this might not be a huge hurdle once the ball goes up and instincts take over, but again, Mozgov doesn’t have a lot of experience so it might take some time for his basketball instincts to get up to speed. Mozgov has certainly impressed pretty much everyone who has seen him play, is very active, and will definitely be seeing minutes; he’ll most likely be splitting time with Turiaf to start the season.
Then we have Randolph. As I’ve blogged about before, Randolph is the X-Factor. All offseason we’ve heard about his many talents and skills, but with the release of Pro Basketball Prospectus 2010-11, we also have statistical evidence that provides yet another reason to be excited about this 21 year old (btw, the Pro Basketball Prospectus is a MUST BUY.) Thus, as I’ve noted before, if Randolph begins to assert himself he is going to demand more minutes. It’s doubtful that those minutes will come at the expense of Amar’e or Gallo, so the only logical conclusion is that Randolph will moonlight at center (either that or Amar’e logs some minutes there with Randolph at PF, which is essentially the same thing.)
Coming full circle, it ultimately doesn’t matter who starts because Mozgov and Turiaf are probably going to see equal time at center. If Mozgov lives up to the hype that is being bestowed upon him by D’Antoni, resulting in more minutes, or if Randolph emerges, his play demanding more time, then that will only mean good things for your New York Knicks.