The New York Knicks made plenty of moves to compete during the 2019-20 season, but being a contending team for the playoffs will take more than just a slew of average veterans and youthful talent. The most significant signing the team made this off-season was Julius Randle, who has experience on a winning team with the New Orleans Pelicans. He is now the de-facto top scorer for the Knicks and will be the focal point on their offense. After tying a franchise record with 17 losses last year, the Knicks will look to bounce back with a brand new roster including third-round overall pick, RJ Barrett.
The question is: Can the Knicks earn a postseason spot?
The goal for next season should be to earn the “average” mark. That would be a big step forward for the success of the team in the future efficiency of their young talent. However, the Knicks lack identity. What Steve Mills and Scott Perry are attempting to accomplish seems to be muddled by the lack of appeal from superstar players. Missing out on both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving attest to the image of the Knicks and how little player seem to respect the organization.
The next have lacked shooting efficiency since head coach David Fizdale took over, which is something he prefers in his players. This off-season, they brought in Randle and Marcus Morris, both average shooters who can also help move the ball around the floor. They also signed Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, and drafted Ignas Brazdeikis to help with their three-point efficiency.
The knicks need to move the ball more effectively:
Randle had a usage rate of 27.1%, in the 95th percentile for bigs. Smith Jr. had a usage rate of 30%, in the 89th percentile for point guards. R.J. Barrett had a staggering 32.2% usage rate at Duke last year. All three players have developed a reputation as a “black hole” for rarely moving the ball once it is passed to them.
Overall, the Knicks brass has built a modern system that lacks the chemistry and overall talent to be considered a top team in the league. They will continue to develop and grow, focusing on their young talent. I don’t anticipate the next being a playoff team next season, but they are getting closer every year.