Evaluating the Knicks’ Latest Acquisition: Did they secure a solid role-player in new depth forward?

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Brooklyn Nets, Keita Bates-Diop, knicks
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks seem to be going in a direction that includes far more forwards than smaller shooting guards next season. Extending OG Anunoby and acquiring Mikal Bridges gives them two oversized wings, meaning the Knicks need forward depth on the bench to help offset any potential losses.

Bench Strength and New Acquisitions

The team has Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo, primary shooting guards, coming off the bench, but the team recently acquired Keita Bates-Diop from the Brooklyn Nets as a throw-in piece in the Bridges deal.

Keita Bates-Diop’s Role and Contract

Bates-Diop is an interesting player heading into the final year of a two-year, $5 million deal. He picked up the second year of his contract, including a player option of $2.6 million. This past season, he spent 53 games between the Phoenix Suns and Nets, averaging 3.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, and shot .434 from the field. Bates-Diop had his best season in 2022–23, playing 67 games, scoring 9.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and shot .508 from the field with a .394 hit rate from downtown.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Orlando Magic
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Challenges and Opportunities for Bates-Diop

Ultimately, it will be difficult for Bates-Diop to find playing time on the Knicks, and he could inevitably be included in a different trade at some point this off-season, but he’s a former Ohio State star and has plenty of NBA experience, which could be valuable instead of leaning on younger options. Bates-Diop has 283 games of experience and has an opportunity with a Knicks team that is projected to be one of the best in the Eastern Conference.

Looking Ahead: Knicks’ Championship Aspirations

They will be eyeing a championship run after the acquisition of Bridges and extending Anunoby, but they still need a center to fill in after the loss of Isaiah Hartenstein, especially since they can’t count on Mitchell Robinson due to his health history.

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