More Knicks Can Lead to Merrier Knicks

Depth is a blessing as long as the Knicks figure out how to keep it from being a curse

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Can you have too many productive players?

    The city that never sleeps has a team that doesn't either.

    That's the word from Steve Novak, who revealed in a radio interview that several members of the team are having trouble sleeping at night. Things have gotten to the point that the Knicks brought in a doctor to speak to the players about some strategies for making the trip to dreamland a little bit easier.

    "We had a meeting today before practice with a doctor who talked about ways to help you sleep at night," Novak said. "It's like the energy, when we leave, it's like midnight, and you go home and we can't sleep. It's from the fans and the adrenaline. We're having trouble sleeping. We have relaxation CDs now that we're supposed to listen to. Whatever works. But I think we'll trade the sleep for now. We'll sleep later."

    It's hard to think of a better way to sum up the level of excitement around the Knicks right now than that. And it's hard to think of a better reaction to it than Novak's shoulder shrug because, really, you don't want to mess around with anything that's going on right now.

    So the Knicks shouldn't suddenly start reading James Joyce or other inscrutable novelists that will send them into slumber, but, alas, there will be some messing around with a good thing in the next little while. And that messing around is going to be crucial to the continued growth of the team over the rest of the season.

    Wednesday night's win was driven by the work of the second unit and there wasn't any member of the furious five that wasn't playing at a high level. Novak, Baron Davis, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Jared Jeffries lit up the Cavaliers and they sparked a new round of big dreaming about the Knicks' final destination.

    Suddenly, the Knicks are able to roll 10-deep and throw ideal combinations of players at every situation without running any of their players into the ground. It's a far cry from the early season days when you could run off a list of five Knicks players on the court -- Douglas, Walker, Harrellson, Jeffries, Bibby -- and create enough laughter to land a sitcom deal.

    Now that things are more like the ensemble on a compelling cable drama, Mike D'Antoni is going to have to do the same thing that the creators of those shows do when it comes to balancing out the characters so that everyone's storyline gets a chance to sing.

    It will take some experimenting to figure out the best way to make that happen and it might lead to some changes -- Landry Fields might be destined to a role as a supporting player with Shumpert and Smith offering the lineup a bit more in his stead -- but those changes need to come in order for the Knicks to maximize their suddenly outsized cast.

    It certainly qualifies as one of those good problems to have, but the Knicks are going to have to sort out the minutes while simultaneously building up the chemistry between players who haven't spent much time together.

    The talent is here, though, and, for the first time in his tenure, D'Antoni has enough players to create matchup nightmares for the opposition every minute of every game.

    Pull it off and there will be plenty of time for sleeping the easy sleep of those satisfied that they have taken care of everything they needed to do.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.