The front office for the New York Knicks undoubtedly has a list of priorities they are trying to focus on this off-season, and with $50+ million to spend in free agency and three first-round selections, they have to ammo to take various different paths toward success. Of course, their personal decisions will have a major impact on the performance of the team during the 2021-22 season, and if all goes well, they will make a deeper postseason run than their unfortunate series against the Atlanta Hawks this year.
Let’s take a look at what positions need to be upgraded.
Three priorities for the Knicks this off-season:
1.) Finding a long-term solution at point guard
One way or another, the Knicks must find an answer at point guard, whether that be retaining Derrick Rose or signing a younger option to serve as a long-term solution. Someone to compliment Julius Randle would be ideal, taking some of the attention and pressure away from him when it’s clutch time.
The most efficient method would be to sign a free agent and draft a young prospect with potential, avoiding a mammoth trade that would ransack the roster and leave the Knicks with a few big names and little else to work with.
Personally, retaining Rose on a two-year deal and drafting a player like Davion Mitchell, Tre Mann, or Sharife Cooper could be the perfect plan to put in place. This will allow Rose to continue playing at a high level, earning starting minutes while helping mentor a prospect. There are several different options that provide different values and strengths, as Mitchell represents an elite defensive player, Mann a talented score, and Cooper, a fantastic facilitator with the ball in his hands. Depending on what Tom Thibodeau wants from his rookies, any of these three could suffice.
2.) Finding a quality small forward/shooting guard who can shoot +40% from beyond the arc
With Reggie Bullock hitting the free-agent market, the Knicks will be looking for a small/shooting guard. There’s always a chance they retain Bullock, but a few alternative options on the market could make sense. One high-profile player is Duncan Robinson, who is a restricted free agent with Miami but will likely garner a big offer sheet this FA period. Robinson connected on nearly 41% of his three-pointers, averaging 8.5 attempts per game this year. During the 2019–20 season, he almost hit 45% over 8.3 attempts, so he could be a fantastic addition, depending on his price.
Other players that could be intriguing or Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter Jr., Trevor Ariza, and Doug McDermott.
3.) Pairing Mitchell Robinson with a solid complementary center
With Mitchell Robinson playing just 31 games this past year with a fractured hand and fractured foot, the Knicks might be in the market for another center to help take some of the load off his shoulders. Robinson is expected to take a nice step forward this upcoming season, adding a bit of muscle mass and returning with a full bill of health.
Finding him a point guard who can offer lobs and quality assists will maximize his offensive potential, as he’s yet to average double-digit points over three years in the NBA. He remains one of the best shot blockers in the league, but finding a strong, defensive center to complement him would be ideal. Someone like veteran Hassan Whiteside could fit the bill on a cheaper contract.