NEW YORK KNICKS – The dire need for a point guard to lead this team is at an all-time high. Frank Ntilikina has been exceptional since being put into the starting rotation but there is still a lack of quality point guards on the team.
Before his injury, Elfrid Payton was playing good basketball and pushing the tempo of the team on the offensive side of the court, but he is not the point guard the Knicks need. Dennis Smith Jr. still has a lot of promise but has had a rocky start to the season. Only time will tell if he will shine in New York City.
Sitting on 2-9 on the season and with the front office seemingly on thin ice, it is still too early to throw this season away. There are tradable assets on the team that can provide greater value to other teams looking to contend in the near future.
For example, Knicks’ big free-agent signing Julius Randle has not turned out to be the focal point on the offense that the Knicks had hoped he would be. With the lack of guards on the team right now, Randle (24) has been asked to bring up the ball and run the offense himself. He is being put into a new role he was never asked to be in before, thus his poor play so far this season. Randle is averaging 15.6 PPG while shooting a career-low 42.4 FG% and a career-low 63.2 FT%.
It is obvious Julius Randle is not a good fit for this team so far, and with 2 years beyond this one left on his contract, he can still bring tons of value to another team. A team like the Golden State Warriors would improve by adding a player with Randle’s ability to their rotation. With star players Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out for the year, Warriors will look forward to bring another valuable asset through the draft. Next year, a healthy Curry and Thompson back along with Draymond Green, Julius Randle, and top first-round pick could make a very well rounded team.
In return, the Knicks can look to add D’Angelo Russell. By now everyone knows the Warriors do not need more help in their backcourt but more in their frontcourt. D’Angelo brings a swagger that the Knicks can use at this point in the season. Russell (23) has proven to be an all-star caliber player in the east and succeeded in New York last year (in Brooklyn). Bringing someone like D’Angelo Russell who can provide more efficient scoring in the Knicks backcourt and will be their starting point guard of the future will improve their struggle to close out games in the 4th quarter.
Certainly, there are other players around the league that can fill this role instead but the Knicks must look at a change in the roster rather than the coaching staff. Bringing in a player with the swagger and confidence that D’Angelo Russell posses is something this struggling Knicks team needs. By adding in players that mesh better together and we will see better play in NYC and hopefully bring back the fun to New York Knicks basketball.