Charles Barkley labels Knicks non-contenders, calls for Karl-Anthony Towns trade

Former NBA player and current television personality Charles Barkley walks off the court after watching the New York Knicks defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-90 at Quicken Loans Arena
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Though early, the New York Knicks (2-2) have not looked like a team that can seriously contend for a championship thus far. NBA Hall-of-Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley took his pound of flesh when assessing the Knicks’ chances and provided a solution that could turn that around.

Barkley Says Knicks ‘Aren’t Winning Anything’ Without Major Move

On TNT’s Inside the NBA, Barkley boldly stated that the Knicks need more in order to compete and should parlay their draft capital in a deal for Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, saying:

“But for me, the Knicks are like, ‘We play hard. We’re solid,” Barkley said. “But they’re not contenders, so if I’m them, I’m like we got to do something. All those draft picks we got, what ‘What are we saving them for?’ Go out and make a move because you gotta say to yourself, ‘We’re not in the conversation with Boston and Milwaukee.’”

Predictably, the Celtics (3-0) and the Bucks (2-1) are two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. The season still needs time to progress before penciling in definitive conclusions. However, the shooting struggles of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson have indicated that another marquee player is needed to match up with those juggernauts.

The Knicks are dead last in the NBA, scoring 38.5 points in the paint on a nightly basis. They are also only one of three teams league-wide whose pick-setters are scoring three points or less per game.

A move for Towns would remedy both of those glaring issues while maintaining their volume three-point shooting. Towns has been linked to the Knicks for weeks on end and would have the chance to reunite with head coach Tom Thibodeau in a more open offense without another center clogging the lane.

New York currently has 11 draft picks over the next two years and has tradable assets that have had their names rumored on the trade market dating back to the beginning of the offseason.

Positives and Negatives For Knicks Through Their First Four Games

The Knicks also need more variation in their offense. Much attention is placed on Brunson in half-court sets and not enough is given to post-up opportunities as well as easy looks off of cuts, dribble hand-offs, and off-ball screens. Towns has the mobility, range, and superior passing ability as a big man to make plays in those areas.

Fortunately, the Knicks have been able to best the contending Cleveland Cavaliers in their last outing and got a victory over a competitive Atlanta Hawks team in their second game of the year.

New York faces a great test after their rematch with the Cavs when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks to kick off the inaugural NBA in-season tournament. They’ll also see the Los Angeles Clippers featuring the newly-acquired James Harden in the following game of their schedule.

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