The New York Knicks have an opportunity to take a step forward this off-season by bolstering positions of weakness. With Julius Randle taking an All-Star level jump this past season, the team is ready to pair him with a competent star who can elevate the roster.
Preferably, the Knicks would add a viable point guard who can act as a quality facilitator while scoring officially on a daily basis. That player could range from Damian Lillard to Lonzo Ball, depending on if the Knicks want to go younger or find an established veteran with one more big contract left to exercise.
The Knicks need to pick their battles carefully this off-season, though, refraining from overspending on inefficient players with little room for improvement.
Let’s take a look at three keys for the Knicks to walk away big winners this offseason:
1.) Avoid injury-prone free agents
One category the Knicks need to be extra careful with is injury history. Acquiring a player like Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz might seem enticing on paper, but the All-Star from the 2020-21 season only played 51 games this year and 47 last season. He has only played 65+ games twice over the last six seasons, indicating a poor bill of health.
I am only using Conley as an example, as there are several free agents the Knicks should tread carefully with. Unless their options dwindle to a minimum, finding options who play consistent ball every year without missing excessive time should be a priority.
2.) Find a few complementary pieces that are strong on defense and have potential on offense
Considering Tom Thibodeauâ€™s style of play, 3-and-D players should be appealing for the front office this off-season. One player that stands out is Kelly Oubre, who has been connected to the organization in recent weeks. While Oubre struggled from range last year due to a tough start, making just one of his first 30 attempts, he has untapped potential in the category.
The Knicks struggled in the 3-PT category during the first half of the season but picked it up in the second half thanks to the emergence of RJ Barrett and the corner shot. With Alec Burks and Reggie Bullock preparing to hit the market, the Knicks could target alternative options or consider retaining one of the two.
One intriguing option could be Danny Green, who featured with a Philadelphia 76ers this past season. He hit on over 40% of his shots from three, attempting 6.3 per game. Averaging a career-high 1.3 steals, he is a savvy veteran who could offer value as a shooting guard and small forward.
3.) Draft with the intention for immediate impact
With three draft selections, the 19th, 21st, and 32nd overall picks, management should be looking for impact players in the draft. The team doesnâ€™t have three roster spots to offer rookies, so expect the Knicks to either trade selections away or pair them and move up to acquire a more popular player.
Baylor stand-out Davion Mitchell would fit Thibodeauâ€™s system perfectly as an elite defender exiting college. With potential on offense, Mitchell could be used defensively instantly, offering value to a team that far too often relied on Elfrid Payton last season. At the very least, they can expect Mitchell to be an above-average player in one category right off the bat while he works on his scoring production.
Alternatively, a player like Tre Mann out of Florida might be more intriguing, as he offers offensive prowess immediately as a two-way guard. Ultimately, the Knicks need immediate production from their future rookies.