It has been four straight seasons. Four seasons of misery and false hope that New York Knicks fans have suffered. Each year, they sign role players hoping to reach the playoffs. Each year, that same attempt fails to work and Knicks fans are just stuck watching two months of playoff ball without their team to watch. Since the tenure of Phil Jackson started, the Knicks have not made the playoffs. Although he has received his critics, Jackson has put the Knicks in a great position for the next few years. They drafted a potential superstar in Porzingis, a solid daily double-double glue guy in Hernangomez, and signed fan favorites like Ron Baker. They’ve set up the foundation, but all they need to do to succeed just like they did in the 90’s is to just make a few right moves this summer.
Do Not Re-Sign Derrick Rose
At first, Derrick Rose was supposed to be the Knicks’ savior. He was the missing piece in order to lead the Knicks to a championship. His skills were those that the Knicks have not had in a point guard since a few decades. He was supposed to create opportunities for Melo and Porzingis and increase the tempo for the Knicks. Everything worked out at first, with the Knicks jumping to a 16-13 record, but then the Knicks stumbled. Yes, it is true that Derrick Rose has been scoring points daily for the Knicks, driving to the basket, and penetrating to the hoop, but that doesn’t mean he has been helpful. He isn’t even in the top 15 of point guards in PER, win shares, box score plus-minus, value over replacement player, and real plus-minus. Furthermore, he just tore his meniscus, which may lead to a lower production next year. He is likely going to request a long-term deal with the Knicks having to commit a lot of money. This is a move that is clearly not needed.
Take Advantage of a Talent-Heavy Draft to Gain Players Needed
Draft experts, critics, NBA general managers are all saying that this year is supposed to be the best draft since 2003, when Carmelo, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh were drafted. This year, the Knicks own their first round pick and have two second round picks which will likely range into picks 40-50. Their first round pick will likely be between picks 4-7 as well. This draft is supposed to be point-guard heavy as well, so the best thing for the Knicks to do is to draft a multi-dimensional player such as De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith, or Frank Ntilikina. These are players that can score on a daily night, pass to players such as Porzingis and Melo, and defend all-star point guards in the NBA. With this first round pick, the Knicks will have a strong foundation for the next few years as they will have a solid point guard, and a strong frontcourt. The next thing for the Knicks to do is to draft a defensive wing who can play behind Carmelo Anthony. The best thing for them to do is to draft a player such as Dillon Brooks of Oregon who can easily be the starting small forward for the Knicks after Melo. After this draft, not only will the Knicks have three young players in their starting lineup, but they will also have a ton of assets on the bench and a superstar in Melo.
Re-Sign Glue Guys Such As Justin Holiday and Ron Baker
Ron Baker has gone from being an undrafted nobody to a reliable backup in just a few months. He competes with energy lifting his teammates up, drives to the basketball with all his force, and most of all plays with passion. He has the ability to find his teammates and in a few years could be a strong contender for sixth man of the year. He can be locked up for the next few years for a relatively cheap contract. If the Knicks can lock him for a $10 million deal for three years, he will be a steal for the upcoming years. Justin Holiday has gone from a trade filler to a backup and reliable 3 and D player. He has been shooting more than 40% from the three point line and has the second-best defensive rating on the team. The Knicks have greatly benefited from him and if they can sign him for a $20-25 million deal for 4 years, he will be a strong backup for the next few years.
All the Knicks need to do this summer is to ensure that they will have a foundation of both young and veteran players for the next year. By having a young point guard to join Porzingis and Hernangomez, the Knicks will have a great pick and roll team for at least the next decade. These steps are needed to make sure that the Knicks not only succeed in the future, but also next year.