Knicks projected to land backcourt scoring depth at the trade deadline

NBA: Washington Wizards at Atlanta Hawks, knicks
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline just days away, it is officially the peak of trade season. For the New York Knicks, they are expected to be active this year with the team having its best 50-game start in over a decade.

They have been linked to a plethora of candidates, most notably guards Malcolm Brogdon and Dejounte Murray. Bleacher Report predicted this week that the Knicks will make another splash acquisition and snag Murray from the Atlanta Hawks to enhance their backcourt depth.

“In theory, there’s still plenty of depth in the backcourt behind Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart, but those latter two can also play on the wing. Neither is quite the on-ball threat [Immanuel] Quickley was,” said Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey.

“Murray can replace that, and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau might be able to help him rediscover the defensive prowess that contributed to him making an All-Star with the San Antonio Spurs.”

Dejounte Murray has had a rough year defensively with the Hawks, but the Knicks could fix it

As Bailey alluded to, it has been a down year on the defensive side of the ball for Murray, who had previously established himself as one of the league’s best two-way guards.

His lackluster performances defensively have been a microcosm of the Hawks’ woes on that end all season, as they rank 27th in the NBA in defensive rating (120.0).

However, Tom Thibodeau has been known to help players reach their highest potential when it comes to their defensive capabilities, with OG Anunoby, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Precious Achiuwa being recent examples of that.

Murray gives the Knicks a much-needed additional facilitator

On the other hand, Murray brings something that the Knicks desperately need: another guard who can handle the ball and gain control of an offense. Since the trade that saw Anunoby come in and Quickley depart, the Knicks’ bench ranks second to last in total points (473) and 27th in field goal percentage (41.6%).

Now, if Murray became a Knick, he would almost certainly be used as a starter alongside All-Star Jalen Brunson, but they can stagger the minute distribution in a way that would allow Murray to lead the floor with the second unit as well as close games with the starters.

Acquiring Murray won’t be cheap

When looking at Murray’s price tag, it would cost the Knicks a serviceable amount of the assets they have been holding on to for a star player. It could ultimately spell the end for Quentin Grimes and Evan Fournier’s Knicks tenures, and it could also see a few of New York’s first-round picks go the other way in a potential deal.

Regardless, with the Knicks catapulting themselves into title contention, there is a valid argument for why they should go all-in this season while the pieces are clicking, though there will always be a tremendous amount of risk involved. Will Murray be a Knick by the end of this week? Only time will tell.

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