Did the Knicks make a mistake trading for Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic?

New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) drives to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have not seen much success since they acquired Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from the Detroit Pistons at the trade deadline, they are just 3-6 and have seen their Eastern Conference standings positioning slip, now just one game ahead of the seventh-seed. So did the Knicks’ front office make a mistake at the deadline?

The answer: No.

The Knicks traded away Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, Ryan Arcidiacono, Malachi Flynn, and two second-round picks to acquire the two Pistons scorers. The latter three players were out of New York’s rotation entirely before the trade, and Grimes was having a rough season and seeing the least amount of playing time in the Knicks’ rotation, so the team still added to their roster.

On top of that, they did not have to fork over any of their first-round picks both with this trade and the OG Anunoby acquisition earlier this season, making the Burks and Bogdanovic deal ere on the side of low-risk, high reward.

While Burks has struggled immensely since coming over, Bogdanovic has provided somewhat of a spark off the bench, averaging 14 points per game and shooting 37% from three in 24 minutes per game. The Knicks enhanced their guard depth further amidst Burks’ slump with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting that they plan to sign Shake Milton once he clears waivers.

Grimes is younger than Burks and Bogdanovic, but they couldn’t afford to wait and see if he would figure it out, as his lack of offensive aggression was hurting the Knicks’ second unit. His tenacious defense will be missed, but with Anunoby and Julius Randle still out with injuries, they needed to replace their scoring with the best available options for the right price.

The Knicks are still incredibly shorthanded

Burks and Bogdanovic are known to be relatively streaky scorers, but both of them have the capability to catch fire and take over a game for a stretch of time. The Knicks caught a glimpse of that possibility when Bogdanovic scored 19 points and shot 5-5 from three in the first half of their blowout win versus the Philadelphia 76ers in their first game back from the All-Star break.

While the Knicks haven’t seen performances like that out of them frequently as of now, it would be premature to conclude that this is how both players will fit in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation when they are still missing three important players.

As a result of the shorthanded roster, Burks and Bogdanovic have been tasked with providing a lot more than they would be in a fully healthy rotation. Both players were acquired to be bench depth as opposed to second or third options.

A clearer picture of how the trade works out will form once the Knicks return to full strength and they have some games played together under their belts. But for now, the Knicks are in a unique circumstance where they have to fight tooth and nail to steal some wins.

On top of that, nine games is not a large sample size. Both players can easily turn things around at any given moment. It is not time to press the panic button on the trade just yet.

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