A New York Puzzle

New York Knicks

For all of those people that are here to overlook this New York Knicks team this year, please don't let the door hit you on the way out. Knicks fans...welcome, please make yourselves at home. 

When you are rebuilding a team, there's a number of different paths you take. Some teams try to take the shortcut and acquire a number of big-name talents with massive cap space in Free Agency. The problem with this, is if you go all-in at the poker table and lose...what's your other move? The answer is building through the draft and adding strategic young talent. That's what the Knicks are doing now. Brick by brick, they are building this team back up. 

 

BUY INTO THE YOUTH MOVEMENT

  • I like the pieces involved a lot more than others will. The Knicks have a couple of nice young assets that could open some eyes league-wide this year if they continue to take a step forward in their developmental process. One of the promising things about a young "rebuilding" team is that plenty of these young players are going to get their opportunity to blossom with playing time over the year. A perfect example of this last year was undrafted rookie Allonzo Trier who ended up converting his two-way contract into a multi-year "extension" with his impressive play off of the bench. An intriguing name that could reap the same benefits that Trier did last year is 2nd round selection Ignas Brazdeikis who impressed with his play during Summer League in Las Vegas. 

THE MAPLE MAMBA

RJ Barrett

  • All eyes will be on RJ Barrett to deliver as a promising building block for this organizations future moving forward. Barrett drew some unfair criticism with his early play in Summer League, but it's important to not panic. A number of current NBA stars have had their fair share of struggles during their rookie experience in Las Vegas. Still, Barrett started to show great signs of progression as Summer League went on. Previously, we had Barrett ranked as our 3rd overall prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft Class which you can read more about here. Barrett has all of the tools to blossom into an offensive star in this league, and the biggest part of his development will be as a playmaker. RJ has drawn some worries with his "tunnel vision" and if he can shed that bad habit, he should blossom during his rookie year. 

 

JULIUS RANDLE WILL BE A CROWD FAVORITE

  • Consider me biased, but I might secretly be the CEO of the Julius Randle fan club. After a more than impressive year with the New Orleans Pelicans, Randle cashed out in Free Agency and he should quickly turn into a very nice addition for this New York Knicks team. Randle is a beast and can score in a variety of ways. He should turn into a great asset, especially in the open floor for this Knicks team. It will be interesting to see what head coach David Fizdale has in mind for Randle this year. As you'll see below, Randle put up some eye-opening numbers with the Pelicans last year. 

BUYING INTO THE MITCHELL ROBINSON HYPE

Mitchell Robinson

  • Yes, buy all of the stock you can. Robinson impressed during his rookie season as a raw shot-blocking big man, and he's on my radar of sophomore breakout candidates. Robinson was fantastic with his play in Summer League and looked like he didn't belong on the court (in a good way). If the offensive game can continue to develop, expect Mitchell to solidify himself as a cornerstone building block for this Knicks franchise. Robinson was named last year to the All-Rookie Second Team. 

 

YEAR TWO OF THE FIZDALE EXPERIENCE

  • If you didn't watch the Knicks closely last year, you won't realize how hard this young team played. There's no denying that the team was outmatched on a number of occasions, but there's no denying that Fizdale gets the most out of his teams. With some intriguing additions to the roster, it will be interesting to see what Fizdale has cooking for the Knicks in this upcoming season. 
PG
SG
SF
PF
C
Dennis Smith Jr RJ Barrett Kevin Knox Julius Randle Mitchell Robinson
Elfrid Payton Reggie Bullock Marcus Morris Bobby Portis Taj Gibson
Frank Ntlikina Wayne Ellington Damyean Dotson    
Kadeem Allen   Ignas Brazdeikis    

OVERALL

  • This team is a bit strange, but in a good way and let me explain. There's some intriguing young depth here and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Knicks overachieve IF the young players continue to develop and there are promising contributions from the rookie draft class. If RJ Barrett hits the ground running and the pieces gel quicker than expected, Knicks fans will get excited in a hurry about this team's long path towards developing into a fighter in the Eastern Conference. Veteran free-agent additions Marcus Morris and Taj Gibson should be great influences for this Knicks locker room and should be great contributors off of the bench. 
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