Knicks land six players in top-125 NBA players list, RJ Barrett snubbed

The New York Knicks made a flurry of moves to improve their team this off-season, adding two players who ranked in the top 125 list, curated by The Athletic writer Seth Partnow.

Tier 5 includes Evan Fournier, Immanuel Quickley, and Nerlens Noel.

Tier 4 includes Julius Randle, Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose.

The Knicks didn’t feature any players in the top three tiers but have a few quality assets who will contribute toward the 2021-22 season. Randle is coming off an All-Star performance where he averaged 24.1 points, 6.0 assists, and 10.2 rebounds. He played 37.6 minutes per game, connecting on 45.6% of his shots from the field and 41% from three, a career-high.

Adding the likes of Fournier and Kemba Walker will contribute more offensive prowess to a team that struggled during the first half of the 2020-21 season. Fournier represents a solid upgrade over Reggie Bullock, who is a primary 3-and-D player that features as a catch-and-shoot specialist. Fournier is capable of creating his own shots and taking pressure off Randle, which will prove to be essential if the Knicks can once again make the postseason.

The team also brought in point guard Kemba Walker on a two-year, $17.9 million deal. With such an efficient contract, the Knicks could potentially walk away big winners this off-season, especially if Walker can regain his All-Star form. The former Celtic played in 43 games last season, posting 19.3 points per game. He’s only one year removed from making the All-Star team, averaging 20.4 points, 4.8 assists, and shooting 42.5% from the field. With a knee issue that seems to be a long-term degenerative injury, the Knicks will have to limit his time on the floor and mitigate fatigue. That is why they also brought back Derrick Rose, who is more than capable of leading a team as a starting point guard.

Interestingly, Partnow included Immanuel Quickley in the top-125 list. Last season, Quickley averaged 11.4 points and shot nearly 40% from the field and 39% from three. Oddly, RJ Barrett was left off the list for speculative reasons. Partnow indicates that Barrett missed the 50% cutoff for eFG percentage when Barrett landed at 49.9%. Some might coin this is trolling.

Barrett, at 20-years-old last season, averaged 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, and shot 40% from three over 4.3 attempts per game. Barrett undoubtedly deserves to be featured, but he will have to prove once again, but he is a capable player with elite potential.

Nonetheless, it is nice to see that the Knicks have a few building block pieces signed for the next few seasons. While they don’t have any players in the top three tiers, they contain a starting roster full of talent they can’t be ignored any longer.

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