A critical date is on the horizon for Chris Copeland. And his recent play is ensuring it will be a big day. More:
Copeland, the 28-year-old rookie, is one of two players on the Knicks roster with a non-guaranteed contract. His salary ($473,604) will become fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season as long as he remains on the roster through Jan. 10.
Copeland, who spent most of his career playing in Europe and a short stint in the D-League, made the roster out of training camp as the 15th Man. He has since emerged as a scoring force off the bench that is threatening to take minutes away from Steve Novak and Ronnie Brewer.
Over the last six games, Copeland is averaging 15.8 points per game. He is shooting 55.5 percent from the field and a blistering 50% (13 for 26) from three-point range.
Copeland's Per-36 scoring average is 22.5 per game, which is second on the team behind Carmelo Anthony (25.8). And he's third in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) with 20.6 behind Melo (25.8) and Tyson Chandler (22.1).
Now his rebounding (2.2 per game over the aforementioned six-game span, including just one in 41 minutes at Sacramento) and defense are troublesome issues, but Copeland has proven he has a scorer's touch and can provide offense off the bench. 29