The New York Knicks experienced a phenomenal season last year compared to their previous standards. Julius Randle emerged as an All-Star, RJ Barrett showed more promise, and veterans like Derrick Rose stepped up in a major way. Sure, the Knicks lost in the first round of the playoffs, but there was clear potential.
New York went into the offseason looking to improve. Things did not go that way, however. The Kemba Walker experiment failed, whereas Evan Fournier continues to prove to be overpaid. As a result, the Knicks finished 37-45 this season and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Here’s how the Knicks can improve this offseason and bolster their playoff chances next season.
New York Knicks: Steps to Improvement
1. Find a True Point Guard
Walker didn’t work out. Rose was injured for most of the year and is best suited for a role off the bench. Immanuel Quickley is a promising young guard, but not necessarily a point guard. Due to all of this, the Knicks opted for Alec Burks as their starting point guard. Burks, overall, is a solid player and good for the Knicks. What he’s not, however, is a true point guard, especially a starter for a team with playoff aspirations. New York desperately needs a true one to operate the offense.
There’s always the draft, but it’s unlikely the Knicks find an immediate starter there, especially in a class that’s big man heavy at the very top. The trade market could be an option, but the best bet is likely to be free agency.
Jalen Brunson, or even potentially Anfernee Simons, are ideal options. Secondary options, to form a rotation with a healthy Rose, would be Ricky Rubio, Tyus Jones, and Dennis Schroder. Perhaps the secondary options aren’t ideal, but they remain an improvement.
2. Draft an Immediate Contributor
The draft is an ideal place to find “cheaper” immediate help. New York will be drafting in the lottery, so they can certainly find immediate help. Hypothetically, it would be great if they can jump higher in the lottery. These odds are low, however, so the Knicks will likely be drafting in the 10-14 range.
There will be a plethora of options here. New York can opt for options such as Johnny Davis or Bennedict Mathurin. An even more immediate option, but one with perhaps a lower ceiling, is Ochai Agbaji. These will be the quickest options for help outside of younger options.
3. The New York Knicks Must Go for the Big Trade
Looking at the Knicks roster, it can be assumed that all players are openly available for trade outside of Barrett. If it’s for the real big fish, then Barrett could potentially be available as well.
Of course, it’s probably too early to imagine who could be on the trade market. Options, however, could potentially include the Utah Jazz duo of Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert, Malcolm Brogdon, and perhaps even Damian Lillard.
All of these players are fantastic options to add, the guards perhaps rank higher should the Knicks retain center Mitchell Robinson.
It will help, as well, to throw in offers for other potential free agents such as Bradley Beal or Zach LaVine.
New York has a decent foundation and a notable head coach. It’s time to add more talent.
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