With Iman Shumpert back in the mix and Amar'e Stoudemire contributing off the bench, the New York Knicks are close to their full-strength roster—at least when it comes to key players.
Starting point guard Raymond Felton has been sidelined with a fractured pinkyfinger since Christmas, landing the Knicks in their first slide of the season. Since losing their starting point guard, the Knicks have gone 5-6, much cooler than their 20-8 start prior to losing Felton.
During his absence, Jason Kidd has done a good job of filling in, averaging 8.7 points per game. However, that's well under Felton's 15.8 PPG season average.
Aside from the scoring, the Knicks are also missing the depth and tenacity that a healthy Felton would bring. He is a strong defender and great distributor. Not to say that Kidd is lacking in either of these categories, but Felton is the top PG on this team.
With Felton potentially coming back this weekend (per ESPN's Jared Zwerling), the Knicks will be that much closer to 100 percent. Despite mixing and matching with older players this season, the Knicks are still atop the Atlantic Division and sitting at second overall in the Eastern Conference.
Shumpert is still far from being back to his form from last year, but he is showing signs. Despite being limited to only 15 minutes in his first game of the season against the Pistons in London, Shump put up eight points and contributed with his defense, earning a steal in each of the last two games.
His minutes were increased to 20 in Monday's loss to Brooklyn, so we should see a gradual increase as we get to the weekend.
With a healthy rotation of Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert and Amar'e Stoudemire mixing back in with the lineup, we should expect the Knicks to return to their early-season form.