For the New York Knicks to build upon their resurgent playoff run from a year ago, they’ll need more than just their core rotation to be ready to produce throughout all 82 games. Two players on their depth chart give the Knicks added insurance off the bench.
Power forward Isaiah Roby and combo guard Duane Washington Jr. have not had the limelight in the press during media day and training camp due in large part to a lack of opportunity. However, their proven capability to put up numbers in lesser capacities demonstrates that if they stay ready, they can give the Knicks a boost in the event of injuries or foul trouble.
Knicks: Roby a Well-Rounded Wing
Roby, 25, made his debut for the Oklahoma City Thunder after being selected by the Detroit Pistons with the No. 45 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He saw time as a starter in his second and third seasons in OKC, scoring 9.3 points on 49.6 percent shooting from the field.
His best season to date came in 2021-22, where he upped the ante from downtown and dialed in one three-pointer a night on 44 percent shooting from deep.
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Roby is best known for his viral ankle breaker on then-Orlando Magic Center Nikola Vucevic back in 2020, and a collection of poster dunks show Roby as a crafty and nimble forward who can beat his man when attacking the basket and finish in traffic.
Obi Toppin was traded to the Indiana Pacers on July 7 for two second-round picks. Now, Roby remains the only true backup power forward on the roster outside of Nathan Knight. Josh Hart recently came out in support of being deployed at the four behind Julius Randle — who ranked No. 11 across the association in personal fouls a year ago — but size may limit just how much he’ll be used to spell for the All-Star forward, leaving the door open for Roby to receive chances to contribute.
Washington Jr. Provides Scoring Punch Off Knicks Bench
Washington Jr. is another valued addition to the team. In two seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Washington Jr. scored 9.1 points on 37.1 percent shooting from three in 17.1 minutes of action.
His shooting from the field has been a cause for concern. Washington Jr. has yet to shoot above 40 percent in any season. Albeit, he had three of his four 20-plus point scoring games when given at least 20 minutes of playing time in 2022-23.
The Knicks’ shooting guard rotation is crowded but should Quentin Grimes or Donte DiVincenzo miss time, Washington Jr.’s 22.3 points per 36 minutes shows that he has the proficiency to ignite New York’s bench.