The Knicks still have one major hole on the roster to fill

May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) celebrates in the fourth quarter  after scoring against the Indiana Pacers during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are poised to make a significant championship run next season, with a solid core led by Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. A critical aspect of their offseason strategy will be retaining key players like OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein, who have proven their worth in the team’s rotation. However, the Knicks face a notable gap that could hinder their playoff ambitions: the lack of a competent backup point guard.

Knicks’ Roster Strategy: Bolstering the Backcourt

With Brunson’s outstanding performance last season, averaging 28.7 points and finishing fifth in MVP voting, the disparity in playmaking ability when he’s off the court is glaring.

Deuce McBride, while a solid scorer and defender, does not provide the same level of ball distribution or offensive orchestration. This discrepancy underscores the need for a backup who can efficiently take over the reins from Brunson when needed, especially during crucial postseason moments.

Apr 11, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) controls the ball while Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) defends during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Potential candidates for this role include De’Anthony Melton and Jose Alvarado. Alvarado, who has played the last three seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans, is a robust option. Last season, he averaged 7.1 points in 18.4 minutes per game, demonstrating capable shooting with a .412 field goal percentage and .377 from three-point range. His ability to manage the game makes him a viable, cost-effective choice for the Knicks.

Melton, on the other hand, offers a blend of scoring and playmaking. Last season, he averaged 11.1 points, three assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. Although he has primarily been used as a shooting guard, his experience at the point guard position during his stints with Phoenix and Memphis could be beneficial.

While the Knicks could consider more high-profile—and costly—options like Russell Westbrook, D’Angelo Russell, or Buddy Hield, these players might command contracts that would strain the Knicks’ salary cap. Hield, in particular, is known for his shooting prowess but may not be financially feasible for the Knicks.

As the Knicks deliberate on their options, it’s clear that bolstering the point guard position will be a priority to ensure depth and stability in their lineup. While McBride is reliable, his skill set is better suited to a shooting guard role, given his limitations in playmaking.

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