One observation you could glean from watching Early in the Vegas Summer League is that he is the epitome of a two-way player; he plays exceedingly hard on both offense and defense. The well-rounded attributes of Early will serve the Knicks as they attempt to rebuild their nucleus.
Early is a very intense perimeter defender and highly aware of his surroundings, which is a quality that Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher would love to see Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani learn through osmosis.
Help defense might not be their forte, but Early knows where people are supposed to be positioned. It was evident during a Summer League play in which Early was beat on the perimeter and a big should have been helping out, but was not. Early, showing remarkable confidence and leadership for a rookie, called the center out after the play questioning him for his poor awareness.
He will be an incredible asset for Fisher in shell drill throughout training camp and practices (shell drill is a defensive positioning drill that stresses the importance of help defense and teaches players habits and rotations that they must learn for game situations).
Despite all logic and statistical evidence, the Knicks' preference will likely be to showcase Bargnani and his expiring contract. As a result, he will probably start at power forward with Anthony at the "3".
Phil Jackson may want to deal Bargnani out of town now, but it will cost him a prized young asset to do so. Since Bargnani's contract only has a year left, stunting Early's growth for a failed acquisition is irresponsible.