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Head Coach: David Fizdale
Season Record: 17-65, 15th in the East
Most Frequent Starting Five (11 Games): (G) Emmanuel Mudiay – (G) Mario Hezojna – (G) Tim Hardaway Jr – (F) Noah Vonleh – (C) Enes Kanter
13 Dec 2018 – Waived (G) Ron Baker, Converted (G) Allonzo Trier from a two-way contract to a regular contract.
31 Jan 2019 – Traded (G) Trey Burke, (G) Tim Hardaway Jr., (G/F) Courtney Lee and (F/C) Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks for (C) DeAndre Jordan, (G/F) Wesley Matthews, (G) Dennis Smith Jr., a 2021 1st round draft pick and a 2023 1st round draft pick. (Top-10 protected)
7 Feb 2019 – Waived (C) Enes Kanter and (G/F) Wesley Matthews.
“Mitchell Robinson can’t block shots” pic.twitter.com/n1RAoCaivh
Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) June 4, 2019
Rookie center Mitchell Robinson was fourth in the league in total blocks and second in the league in blocks per game. For a center whose ability was questioned due to a season of not playing organized basketball, Robinson was one of the few bright spots for the Knicks.
Dennis Smith Jr was released from his purgatory with the Dallas Mavericks and was awarded a new lease on life with the Knicks. While he didn’t spur them on to any significant performances, he found his form by contributing 14.7 points and 5.4 assists per game in his 21 games as a Knick.
Allonzo Trier started out the season as a two-way player, but his ability scoring the ball was commendable enough for the Knicks to release heady guard Ron Baker in his place. The discovery of Trier was a big victory for the Knicks scouting department.
NY Knicks fans everywhere … had the same reaction to the NBA draft lottery ? pic.twitter.com/Cr4yNtgmyk
ESPN (@espn) May 15, 2019
Losing streaks were the pride of the New York Knicks in 2018-2019. They had an eight-game, six-game, and two five-game losing streaks going into the new year. Between January and February, they lost a shocking eighteen consecutive matches.
It has now been six straight years that the New York Knicks have missed the playoffs. The so-called Mecca of basketball has failed to see the post-season since they were led by Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, and Amar’e Stoudemire.
After one of the worst years in franchise history, the New York Knicks entered the 2019 NBA Draft with hopes of winning the number one overall pick and Zion Williamson. Instead, the new weighted odds system awarded them the third overall pick.
Remember the time Kevin Knox committed first degree murder on Benjamin Simmons? pic.twitter.com/HfGTHhcdqF
The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) June 28, 2019
Mario Hezojna signed a $6.5 million deal with the Knicks in the summer of 2018. Expected to come in and be a threatening wing scorer after a career season with the Magic, injuries derailed his year and he was not offered a contract renewal at the end of the 2019 season.
The Knicks took a huge risk when they selected Mitchell Robinson with the 36th overall pick in the 2018 draft. While he didn’t have a guaranteed contract at the time, the 7-1 center was coming off of a non-playing season. He rewarded the Knicks faith as he was selected for the 2019 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
Kevin Knox looked to be the go-to scoring prospect the Knicks wanted when they selected him ninth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. While he scored well, to the tune of 12.8 points per game, his lack of efficiency showed he has a longer road to travel before he ranks as one of the leagues future stars.
The Knicks ended the season with the worst record in the NBA. Where in past years it would have given them incredible odds to win the first overall pick, the new weighted odds system granted them a mere 14% chance at the top prize. They settled for the third overall pick.
With their two picks in the 2019 Draft (3rd overall, 36th overall), the Knicks selected one Canadian and traded to acquire another.
Kevin Durants decision doesnt kill the Knicks plan.
Its literally just getting started:
The New York Knicks select RJ Barrett pic.twitter.com/uApIL9LYZq
#FreeKFS: Knicks Film School (@JeffreyBellone) June 30, 2019
While New York didn’t acquire the star they dreamed of in Zion Williamson, their prize at third overall is still one of the nations top prospects. Canadian RJ Barrett is savvy beyond his years on the court. While his shooting is still something to develop, he’s a capable point-forward that fills the NBA’s current stylistic trends.
Knicks second round pick “IGGY” Brazdeikis tells fans what type of game he brings to the table pic.twitter.com/wp44pSOAt8
NYK-NYJ-NYY-4LIFE (@knicksjets4life) June 21, 2019
A strong tournament showing allowed Brazdeikis’ stock to shoot up during the scouting process. A gritty small forward with an ice hockey enforcers mentality, Brazdeikis also has the shooting ability to fit into the modern NBA and the Knicks’ new offence. His defence is still suspect, but the Knicks’ lack of potential success provides time for growth.
The New York Knicks are in a developmental stage, particularly in their backcourt. While Dennis Smith Jr seems to be their future at point guard, the pairing of Barrett and Brazdeikis are a young SG-SF combo to challenge their current roster.
Barrett will be expected to contribute immediately as a scorer and secondary playmaker for the Knicks. He will be a rookie of the year candidate from the outset.
Less expectation will be on the shoulders of Brazdeikis, who will have the task of maintaining his three-point consistency and improving his defensive ability. He will surely split time with their G-League Affiliate, the Westchester Knicks.
While the New York Knicks struck out in free agency, they’ve filled their roster with some capable role players on short term contracts. To say the Knicks are bunkering down for the next big free agent pool would be an understatement.
The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) July 3, 2019
The Knicks failed to recruit Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, who instead chose to ply their trade across the pond with state rivals the Brooklyn Nets. They did, however, acquire talented big man Julius Randle from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Randle had a career year with the Pelicans last season, showing off his diverse offensive game in the absence of Anthony Davis. He will be the go-to player for the Knicks offensively, while his defense will have to improve if he hopes to lead his side to success.
Taj Gibson tells Zach LaVine to save it for the dunk contest (@CSNChicago) https://t.co/WehmRTcvBF
Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 7, 2016
Veteran forward Taj Gibson will be a calming piece for the upstart New York Knicks. Surrounded by players almost ten years his junior, Gibson will be looked upon as the vocal and physical role model for their side.
Despite being 33 years old, Gibson was incredibly effective for the Timberwolves last season – providing a reliable 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. While his effectiveness is sure to drop-off as he ages, Gibson’s contributions in moderation will be valued.
Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 26, 2016
Issues regarding maturity and attitude have plagued the young career of Bobby Portis. Fortunately for him, his abilities on the court are enough for teams to provide the hot-headed forward a new opportunity.
Portis has shown himself to be a rich-mans Patrick Patterson, with the ability to defend on the wing as well as score inside and out. He came to life for the lowly Washington Wizards and looks to continue his ascent with the Knicks. He’ll be sharing minutes with Randle, which will surely develop interestingly.
Elfrid Payton with the fancy dime ? https://t.co/VVA8PCmz0N
NBA TV (@NBATV) December 18, 2016
Point Guard Elfrid Payton has always been an apt playmaker and finisher at the rim. Unfortunately his shooting maintained its negative consistency throughout his career. He will be playing second to Dennis Smith Jr in the point guard rotation, offering playmaking and defensive intensity off of the bench.
Wayne Ellington with the game winner! pic.twitter.com/EYKbdPMHZW
Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) January 10, 2018
It is no secret what the Knicks were looking for when they signed Wayne Ellington this offseason. Ellington is a marksman from range, who shoots above the league average on almost eight three-point attempts per game. While $8 million may seem steep for a one-dimensional player, the possible reward of his shooting is worth the risk.
Once an impressive grinder on the court, Bullock’s recent injury proneness has led to a slight deterioration in his overall game. At his best, Bullock is a capable Three-and-D player in the league. The Knicks will surely expect him to contribute and get over his injuries to warrant his $21 million salary.
It is difficult to envision what the Knicks intend in this upcoming season. They missed all of the leagues biggest free agents this summer but signed some interesting if not unproven pieces for the next two to three years.
Considering $103 million comes off of their books in 2021, it is clear that this short term play will attract the ’21 class of free agents into The Big Apple – LeBron James, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For now, the Knicks are still in rebuilding mode. However with much more interesting pieces than they had to begin with last season. A playoff push is not expected for the New York Knicks.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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