What Should the New York Knicks’ Offseason Look Like?

New York Knicks, Julius Randle
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When looking at the New York Knicks, their obvious issues pertain to having no reliable sharpshooters from deep and defensively being a trainwreck. They have struggled to nail picks in the draft and free agents, as when they do, they usually end up trading them away, (Marcus Morris or Kristaps Porzingas).

While Julius Randle may seem like a solid signing, he is usually ball-dominant and has, in my opinion, stunted the growth of RJ Barrett as he cannot shoot threes adequately. He is also a slouch defensively, which puts an even more significant burden on a kid like Barrett, who needs someone to help him either offensively with sharpshooting or can be lockdown defensively to relieve him from tough matchups.

With their offseason starting now in terms of no basketball, the Knicks need to ponder what to do for their team’s improvements and what direction to go.

Who Comes Back?

If I’m the Knicks, I don’t resign any of their players with expiring contracts, and I let Bobby Portis go as well, meaning the Knicks would have nine roster spots and six available for the draft or any signings.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though, let’s start off with who the Knicks should acquire in the NBA draft.

Shooting and Guards Galore For Knicks Draft Night

If the Knicks end up with a top 5 pick, I think they can land either LaMelo Ball or Killian Hayes, who are rated as two of the best point guards in the upcoming draft. Ball has issues with his percentages, but with NBA coaching, he can be able to drain threes, and on top of that, he’s a solid defender. His best attribute, in my opinion, is his unbelievable playmaking, and with RJ Barrett, he could easily see himself with 8-9, assists a game. For Killian, Hayes has talent and can be solid in the NBA, but his playmaking ability can be inconsistent.

Is Hayes a bad prospect? Not at all, and if the Knicks get him, I think they’ll be fine as he is promising, but again he shouldn’t be picked by the Knicks if LaMelo is on the board.

For their second 1st round pick, I see the Knicks getting Killian Tille as he’s a big man shooting 40% from three this season. The Knicks could get an upgrade at their Forward position and have a really solid 3 and D player for their future. He isn’t the most talented player in college basketball, but the Knicks would be getting better if they were able to snag him.

With their 2nd rounder, I see the Knicks going for Mason Jones who’s a reliable scorer and shooter at the guard position as the Knicks look to add depth at that position and try to get better offensively from deep, with the kid averaging 22 points on 35% from 3 and 45% overall, which aren’t great but could improve in the NBA.

These picks would make the Knicks a lot better for the future and would give the Knicks only 3 more spots to fill out as I see the Knicks moving one player in their active roster like an Ignas Brazdeikis down to the G-League. These guys aren’t superstars, but they will make the Knicks a whole lot better.

Rounding Out A Roster In Free Agency

The Knicks active roster in these hypothetical looks like this currently:

RJ Barrett G/F
Julius Randle F
Mitchell Robinson F/C
LaMelo Ball G
Killian Tille F
Mason Jones G
Taj Gibson F/C
Kevin Knox F
Dennis Smith Jr. G
Frank Ntilikina G
Reggie Bullock G
Wayne Ellington G
Elfrid Peyton G

Now let us try to make some cuts, with Dennis Smith Jr, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Peyton being part of my waives. In return, the Knicks now can add three free agents, and since my cuts were guards, I think adding one guard, and two forwards would be ideal here.

My first addition to the roster would be the Wizards’ sharpshooter Dāvis Bertāns who’s known as the Latvian Laser, as he’s a 27-year-old 41.1% shooter from deep. While he’s a below-average defender, he is 6-10 and can be the Knicks 6th man and play Forward or play for Julius Randle and have Randle fill in for Barrett one the second team.

The second addition to this team for me would be Orlando Magic’s guard Evan Fournier, who is shooting 40.6% from 3 this season and is a career 37.6% shooter from three. He is averaging 18.8 points per game with 3.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds. He’s 6-7 and can play shooting guard, which could be an excellent addition for the Knicks as a perimeter threat. I know his defense isn’t great, but with the next guy, there’s defensive upside.

The final addition to this team would be Serge Ibaka, who is a 7-foot monster who can play center or forward, and on 3.3 attempts per game is shooting 39.8% from three. With a 104 Defensive Rating, he’s okay defensively at Center, but as a forward, it’s at 103 with a positive defensive box plus-minus. If playing Forward, he can be a lockdown defender that the Knicks need right now. On top of all of this, he’s giving the Raptors 16 and 8 on 27.5 minutes and could be a force for the Knicks in the paint with Mitchell Robinson.

What Would the Lineup Look Like?

Well, the amount of new pieces means the lineup needs to be restructured and here’s how I’d do so:

LaMelo Ball G
Evan Fournier G
RJ Barrett F
Dāvis Bertāns F
Serge Ibaka F

This starting lineup provides at least 3 high-level shooters from 3 and Serge Ibaka being a solid shooter. This means RJ Barrett also has a chance to show off his slashing abilities and develop as a shooter and also have options to pass to when he’s doubled. For the second team, this is where, in my opinion, the Knicks show their real improvement:

Frank Ntilikina G
Mason Jones G
Julius Randle F
Killian Tille F
Mitchell Robinson F

This second team is more flourished and has a better chance of competing against a good team’s second squad as well. The depth of the Knicks is improved, and they get a really young and good second team with decent shooting from their two draft picks and a good scorer in Randle.

Does this offseason make them a Finals contender? No, not at all, but it gives them the chance to develop stars in LaMelo Ball and RJ Barrett.

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