Ah, the New York Knicks. I have been a fan for a long time and it hasn’t been easy. From the days of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristaps Porzingis, there were some moments where we thought they would be great but for most of my life, they have been terrible. 2018-19 was the case of another down year, going […]
Ah, the New York Knicks. I have been a fan for a long time and it hasn’t been easy. From the days of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristaps Porzingis, there were some moments where we thought they would be great but for most of my life, they have been terrible. 2018-19 was the case of another down year, going 17-65 and having one of the worst records in the NBA. The main story here was that the previously mention Porzingis, along with Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Tim Hardaway Jr. were traded to the Dallas Mavericks, with the return being Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan.
We fast forward to the 2019 offseason. Fans were hyped at the free-agent class and potential #1 pick to grab Zion Williamson. Well…we all knew what happened so I won’t get into it.
Instead of drafting Zion, signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Knicks ended up with the #3 pick and selected RJ Barrett, signed Julius Randle as well as a bunch of veteran role players to stay competitive this season.
Let’s breakdown the position groups for the teams as well as my potential lineup heading into the 2019-2020 season.
- Kadeem Allen *Two-Way
- Amir Hinton
- Frank Ntilikina
- Elfrid Payton
- Lamar Peters
- Dennis Smith Jr.
Smith SHOULD HAVE been on the Knicks from the start back in 2017 but instead, they went with Ntilikina. Will get to him in a bit but I am a big fan of DSJ and with a full offseason under his belt, look for him to be one of the top-scoring options on the Knicks roster this season. Payton has been a solid two-way guard for the past few seasons and even had some moments last year, which included a five-game stretch with a triple-double. He’ll take a lesser role this season as one of the top backups.
Now I’ll get to Frank. While only 21 years old and just two seasons in the league, he clearly is not the team’s future plans. He fell out of the rotation last season and after averaging 5.9 points in his career, it would not shock me if they move him at one point in the season. Now I know fans want him to be cut but financially, that would not work, given he is on a first-round rookie deal. Maybe he’ll improve in year three but that will not likely happen. Allen was on the team for the latter part of the 2019-2020 season and was impressive in his short stint, which earned him a two-way contract. He’ll get his looks but will likely be in a Westchester Knicks uniform for the majority of the season. Peters and Hinton are both undrafted rookies that will likely not make the roster for now unless an injury occurs or they are really impressive as the preseason winds down.
- RJ Barrett
- Reggie Bullock
- Damyean Dotson
- Wayne Ellington
- Allonzo Trier
No Zion but I am happy with Barrett as the future for the Knicks. At one point, this guy was considered the top pick in 2019. Barrett is a solid scorer that will get plenty of looks right away. If he dominates right away, fans will forget about Zion….maybe.
I am a fan of Dotson’s game. A former second-round pick in 2017, he has developed into a solid role defensive player that can shoot the three when needed. Ellington and Bullock were signed this past offseason as solid contributors off the bench. Bullock is more of a defender while Ellington can shoot the three-ball with ease, so they have a guy for a certain situation. Trier went from undrafted in 2018 to fan favorite in one season, averaging 10.3 points a game. His playing time may go down a bit with the amount of talent at the SG spot but he’ll have his moments.
- Ignas Brazdeikis
- V.J. King
- Kevin Knox
Knox is the main guy to look at here. The former 9th overall selection in 2018 had his ups and downs his rookie year but his 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds showed that he has a lot of potential to be a solid player for the Knicks. He can also slide to the PF spot in certain situations. Brazdeikis was drafted in the second round in this past draft and will look to be a role player that can be a spot-up shooter. King went undrafted in 2019 and might not make the roster with the amount of young talent on the roster.
- Taj Gibson
- Marcus Morris
- Bobby Portis
- Julius Randle
- Kenny Wooten
Randle was the team’s top free-agent acquisition after missing out on Kyrie and KD. Personally, I like the move. We forget that Randle was a former top 10 pick with the LA Lakers but injuries early in his career hurt his stock. He had a nice bounce-back season last year in his lone season with the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. He’ll no doubt be one of the teams leading scorers. Morris, Gibson, and Portis are veterans that were acquired this past offseason. All three will get a lot of minutes early and Gibson, in particular, is a nice veteran presence in the locker room. Wooten is an undrafted rookie that may end up in the G League to develop.
- Mitchell Robinson
The only true center here is Robinson, who I believe has the chance to be a star. He only averaged 7.3 points and 6.4 rebounds a game in a bench role, but his 2.4 blocks are something you should keep an eye on. I think with no other centers, Robinson has the chance to be something special. Hot take now but I think he could be in the running for Most Improved this season and could be a darkhorse Defensive Player of the Year candidate
David Fizdale at one time was considered one of the best assistant coaches in the league and had a bright future as a potential head coach. He had a forgettable one and half seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies and his 17-65 record with New York last season might have some fans worried. Still, I think the amount of young talent he team has and his past experiences with championship teams (as an assistant for the Big 3 era in Miami), his job is safe for a bit. New York needs consistency, so the team should keep him around to build the future.
Projected Lineup/Roster Cuts
- PG: Dennis Smith Jr.
- SG: RJ Barrett
- SF: Kevin Knox
- PF: Julius Randle
- C: Mitchell Robinson
- Sixth Man: Marcus Morris
- Key Role Players: Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Damyean Dotson, Taj Gibson
- Rest of the Bench: Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Allonzo Trier, Ignas Brazdeikis, Frank Ntilikina
- Two-Way Players: Kadeem Allen
- Roster Cuts: Kenny Wooten, V.J. King, Amir Hinton, Lamar Peters
The New York Knicks has a solid combination of young players and solid veteran bench players. The starting five I have is very young but has a lot of potential if they stay together and healthy. You always need some stable veterans to come off the bench and the team has that for now. The positive is that most of these veterans are on one-year contracts, so if they impress, the Knicks can re-sign them. If not, they can let them walk in 2020.
I am being realistic here. The Knicks aren’t going to make the playoffs but I think they’ll no doubt improve from 17 wins a season ago. I am interested to see how these young payers mesh together and if Randle, in particular, can replicate his success from a year ago.
It may be another down year in New York but I believe the future is bright. Like I said a while back on the blog, I am positive on this team…for now.