The New York Knicks have set themselves up perfectly for the future, whereas over the past few seasons, they’ve made malicious moves that have disrupted chemistry and convinced star players to take their talents elsewhere.
It was only one year ago that fans believed the Knicks might trade Julius Randle for more draft capital. Instead, Randle became one of the best players in the league and one of the first All-Stars the Knicks have had in years. However, the point guard position remained a serious issue, but the front office might have put a plan in place that could keep the spot healthy and full of talent for the next 5+ years.
Of course, the Knicks retained Derrick Rose on a three-year contract and signed Kemba Walker on a two-year deal. Between Rose and Walker, they have seven All-Star appearances. Rose hasn’t enjoyed a season of that caliber since 2011, but Walker is only one year removed from a season where he averaged 20.4 points per game. Nonetheless, both are dealing with degenerative bodies and require one another to mitigate fatigue over the course of an 82-game season.
The Knicks have plenty of supplemental talent in case they need to rest either of the two veterans. Deploying Immanuel Quickley at point guard during Summer League play and drafting Miles McBride out of West Virginia could be the perfect long-term solution at PG. Considering Rose’s deal is essentially a two-year contract, matching up with Walker’s, they are giving their youth plenty of time to develop and refine their talents.
McBride, who is known for his toughness and energy on defense, averaged 27.7 minutes during the Summer League. He posted 15.2 points, shooting 53.2% from the field and 50% from three-point range. He seemed every part of a solid point guard, posting 3.5 assists on average. Alternatively, Quickley recorded 20.2 points and 7.8 assists per game.
It is a major positive to see two young players developing their skills at a position the Knicks have had a lack of talent at for years. Now the team has four competent players they can rely on without skipping a beat.
However, each individual player has their strengths and weaknesses, which head coach Tom Thibodeau can expand upon. For example, Rose dominates as a floor general, driving to the rim and using his savviness to get the ball into the paint and maximize center play. Although Rose posted a career-high 41% shooting from three-point range this past season, far exceeding expectations on the team traded for him at the deadline.
Walker is it true and tried scorer, and while he doesn’t have the elite court vision you prefer from a point guard, he takes pressure off players like Julius Randle, who the Knicks were forced to rely on during the postseason and throughout the regular campaign. Having a player like Kemba who can produce double-digit points on a nightly basis is a huge addition, especially at his $8 million AAV price point.
Quickley is still finding his groove in the NBA but offers immediate offense off the bench and has developed significantly with his court vision. His biggest weakness is poor shot selection and driving to the rim (23.8% of his points last season came around the rim), two things he worked on this off-season. He still requires more of a sample size and live-action.
McBride is a defensive maestro, having the largest wingspan and hand size of any PG in the most recent draft class. Thibodeau loves his tenacity on defense, but he also proved to be an adequate scorer from beyond the arc this summer. Altogether, Thibodeau can curate plenty of different combinations to maximize each player’s strengths and hide their weaknesses, which presents an extremely exciting period for Knicks basketball.