How can the Knicks fill their biggest need at the trade deadline?

NBA: Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are rolling since acquiring F OG Anunoby from the Toronto Raptors, boasting a 5-0 record since the trade while also leading the NBA in net rating and defensive rating. After filling a 3-and-D need by bringing in Anunoby, the Knicks now must pivot to address their current biggest need, which is scoring in the second unit.

The Knicks’ roster has noticeable holes after OG Anunoby trade

G Immanuel Quickley was traded alongside F RJ Barrett from the Knicks to the Raptors in the Anunoby deal. Quickley was averaging 15.0 points per game off the bench at the time of the trade and was figuring to be in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year award for the second straight season. With Quickley and Barrett now gone, the Knicks are left with only two true ball handlers on the roster, Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.

The Knicks’ offense has been streaky since the trade

Head coach Tom Thibodeau has been staggering Brunson and Randle’s minutes so that at least one of them is on the court at all times. However, when only one of the two is on the court with the bench unit, the offense appears stagnant. The offense has been at times unable to generate a clean look at the basket, as opposing teams are solely focused on whichever one of Brunson or Randle is on the floor.

Miles McBride has been a fun surprise, but is he the answer?

Stepping into Quickley’s place in the rotation is backup guard Miles McBride, who has played solid in the five games since the trade, averaging 7.8 points per game in just 13 minutes per game off the bench, while knocking down 55% of his three-pointers.

While McBride has seemingly taken advantage of the extra opportunity, he likely doesn’t serve as the long-term answer as the team’s backup point guard. As of right now, the Knicks’ second unit does not have a go-to scorer, which has been the reason behind Thibodeau staggering Brunson and Randle’s minutes.

To address this need, the Knicks will have to once again be active in the trade market. Many candidates around the league could make sense for a Knicks team that is ready to contend right now and would help fulfill their biggest need at the moment.

Reigning Sixth Man of the Year could be an intriguing trade target

Portland Trail Blazers G Malcolm Brogdon, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is enjoying himself another productive season. In 29 games, Brogdon is averaging 14.9 points per game, while shooting 43% from the field, and 41% from beyond the arc.

His production would completely replace the void left behind by Immanuel Quickley and shouldn’t be too costly for the Knicks. Given the Trail Blazers’ struggles this season, as they currently sit 14th in the western conference with a lowly record of 10-26, veteran players such as Brogdon will likely be up for grabs, with the Knicks figuring to be front runners for the crafty guard.

Three-point specialist Bones Hyland could be the spark the Knicks need

Los Angeles Clippers G Bones Hyland could potentially be an intriguing fit with the Knicks. The 23-year-old has struggled to get playing time in Los Angeles and is currently not in the team’s rotation.

However, in his career, Hyland averages 10.4 points per game in just 18.6 minutes per game off the bench and is a quality three-point shooter knocking down 37% of his threes for his career. If the Knicks were to acquire Hyland, he could be a spark plug/microwave type of player in the second unit, similar to what Immanuel Quickley brought but on a lesser level.

Recently, the Knicks waived veteran F Taj Gibson, leaving an open roster spot. This suggests that the Knicks are not done making moves, and will surely be active before the trade deadline to sure up any of their significant needs. For a Knicks team that is rolling right now, adding some much-needed depth could be the final piece of the puzzle that vaults them into title contention conversations.

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