Following their recent trade of Obi Toppin to the Indiana Pacers, the New York Knicks are now facing a depth issue at the power forward position. With veteran starter Julius Randle established as the primary option, they need to consider supplemental players to balance the workload and reduce player fatigue. Given Randle’s impressive average of 25.1 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.1 assists last year, any additional acquisition would serve as a supporting act rather than a headliner.
Eyeing the Free-Agent Market: Is Derrick Jones Jr. the Answer For the Knicks?
With the aim of filling the void left by Toppin, who averaged 7.4 points per game last season, the Knicks could consider exploring the free-agent market. One viable option might be Derrick Jones Jr., who recently declined a $3.4 million player option for the upcoming season. As Jones continues to remain a free agent, he may need to settle for a minimum deal if a better offer fails to materialize.
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Evaluating Derrick Jones Jr.’s Potential
Jones, aged 26, averaged 5.0 points and 2.4 rebounds last season, showcasing an impressive .500 shooting rate from the field and a .338 three-point hit rate. Although not recognized for his perimeter shooting, Jones is a competent defender with efficient scoring ability around the basket, reflected in his .559 effective field goal rate.
Securing Jones at a low cost to serve as a depth piece behind Randle could be an ideal move for the Knicks. With a track record featuring stints at Phoenix, Miami, Portland, and Chicago over the past two seasons, Jones offers a level of experience that Toppin, despite being only a year younger, didn’t have.
Balancing Minutes and Managing Expectations
Unlike Toppin, who was seeking a more dominant role and substantial playing time, Jones doesn’t demand heavy minutes. Last year, he started no games but made 64 appearances averaging 14 minutes per game. In contrast, Toppin averaged 15.7 minutes per game. This means the Knicks could utilize Jones as a key rotational piece without having to negotiate substantial demands, making him a potentially perfect fit for their current needs.