New York Knicks Need To Let Season Go For Team To Grow
The 2017 NBA Draft class is one the New York Knicks can’t miss out on. A top five pick is essential to the future of the franchise.
The New York Knicks are having a disappointing season and the win-now mentality has once again shown its cruel side. If the Knicks end up with a sub .500 record, it will be the 12th time in the last 16 seasons that the Knicks were unable to win more than they lost.
The Knicks play in New York, one of the biggest media markets in the world, and the expectation from its people are high. Often times, the pressure felt from the outside affects the Knicks. It’s evident in the fact that Phil Jackson and the rest of the front office have never truly aimed to rebuild.
Instead of rebuilding for a better future the Knicks have taken chances on older, battle tested veterans who just aren’t doing the job they once could.
Therefore, the Knicks are at an impasse. They have a franchise changing decision to make.
To Tank Or Not To Tank?
The current roster is not going to win the Knicks their first championship since the 1972-73 season. It lacks the three-point shooting to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It lacks the defense to stop the high-octane Toronto Raptors, and it lacks the consistency to match the Boston Celtics in a seven-game series.
We’re not even mentioning the world-beating Golden State Warriors.
Rather than wasting another year vying for a one-and-done playoff run, New York should gather up young assets through the draft and a few trades.
New York has some of the most valuable trade pieces in the league right now. One of which is sure-fire Hall-of-Famer Carmelo Anthony, as well as Courtney Lee and Kyle O’Quinn, who could quickly become two of the hottest trade pieces in the league.
O’Quinn is having a career year. He’s blocking shots at an alarming rate and has shown flashes of point-center potential. When he’s given big minutes, he’s produced at an above-average rate.
O’Quinn is averaging a ridiculous 14.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per 36 minutes. O’Quinn is also boasting the highest Player Efficiency Rating of any Knick this season at 20.29.
This is a longer video, but it shows every aspect of one of his best performances as a Knick.
If made available, O’Quinn would be one of the most sought-after players in the league. He’s young and only in his fourth NBA season. O’Quinn has shown tremendous growth. Many times this year, O’Quinn has shown starting NBA center ability.
He could be traded for quality assets.
Courtney Lee was just signed this previous offseason and has been awesome for the Knicks. His talents are being wasted on a fringe playoff team. Lee is a reliable shooter who hits the three at a superb 41.3 percent.
During the quadruple-overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Lee hit a 35-foot buzzer-beating three-pointer to prolong the longest game in Knicks history.
Lee is the quintessential modern day NBA shooting guard. He boasts the ability to catch and shoot effectively. He can create his own shot if he needs too, and even has a reliable floater to use in the lane.
His true skills lie on the defensive end, where he has the ability to contain opposing guards for long periods of time. He is the perfect veteran to shore up a contending team.
This is an instant classic.
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) January 29, 2017
This could the best draft since 2003, and there are three or four franchise players coming to the NBA next season. This is the draft the Knicks can’t miss out on.
The Brooklyn Nets are far and away the worst team in the league, and this means their chances at getting the No. 1 overall pick will be the highest. The Boston Celtics have the gift of swapping picks with Brooklyn. That means the C’s project to have yet another Top 3 pick in this year’s draft.
But we all know how the lottery works, and sometimes even the leagues worst team will get the fourth pick in the lottery.
The Knicks landed Porzingis that way.
This year is shaping up to be one where the Knicks can slide into the Top 2 or 3 picks. The Miami Heat are torching the league; they’ve won eight straight games. The 76ers are suddenly making a run for the playoffs, and the lottery is wide open.
The Knicks would have to commit to the tank, but it would be worth it in the end.
Their are three franchise-changing guards the Knicks need to target in this year’s draft. If they miss out on this opportunity, there’s no telling how long it could take for the Knicks to reach their pinnacle again.
Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz will be in the running for the first and second overall picks. They both show superstar potential, and Ball will most likely will end up going No. 1.
So we turn our eyes to Fultz. The 6’4″ guard who plays for the Washington Huskies will be a top pick. He’s averaging a ridiculous 23.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists this year. Fultz is a freshman at Washington and will most likely enter this year’s draft.
Fultz has an affinity for throwing no-look passes and getting his teammates involved, he could be the perfect compliment to Kristaps Porzingis in the years to come.
If worst comes to worst and the Knicks miss out on Fultz and Ball, there’s still another intriguing guard from basketball powerhouse Kentucky.
His name is De’Aaron Fox, and he’s being called the next John Wall.
Fox has uncanny athleticism in the open court, and he demoralizes his opponents on defense. His ability to run the floor is truly remarkable. He has a sixth gear that only Russel Westbrook, John Wall, and prime Derrick Rose have shown.
Fox would bring a strength to the Knicks that hasn’t been present for a long time. He would play feisty defense and work an immaculate pick and roll with Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez.
His development into an NBA star rests solely on his ability to improve his jump shot. Once Fox figures out his jumper, he can become the most athletic guard in the NBA.
If all goes to plan, Fox could create a legacy; a legacy of defense, attitude and relentless effort in the rebuilding of the New York Knicks.
When we look at the recent history of the Knickerbockers, we see a trend of quick fixes and questionable playoff runs.
Because of these methods the Knicks have struggled to sustain success. In the 90s, the Knicks were a powerhouse. They were one game away from winning an NBA title. That team was based around the best draft pick in franchise history: Patrick Ewing.
The draft is there for a reason. It’s there to pull teams up off the ground and change the future of the franchise. They need to believe in the draft, and in time, success will come.
Change must be accepted in today’s NBA. Look over at the Memphis Grizzlies. The home of the Grit and Grind now has 255-pound Marc Gasol and postmaster Zach Randolph shooting three pointers. This has made the Grizzlies a dark horse title contender.
Sacrificing a few years of one-round playoff appearances will all be worth it when the Knicks are in the 2022 NBA Finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Knicks faithful will always show up to the games and cheer their hearts out. The entire NBA is enamored with Kristaps Porzingis and this alone will keep the eyes of the world on the Knickerbockers.
Sometimes all you need to have is a little patience, because the best things come to those who wait and work for a better future.
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