What the Knicks need to be a legit contender this season

The New York Knicks are a good team, but not good enough. Having one star in Julius Randle simply doesn’t push them across the threshold to be an above-average team. Even if you take a look at their next-door neighbors, the Brooklyn Nets, they have had their fair share of struggles this season, despite a 24–13 record.

Despite having Kevin Durant, James Harden, and the return of Kyrie Irving, they have lost four of their last five games. The Knicks don’t have nearly as much star talent and sit below .500 on the year.

If Tom Thibodeau really wants his team to be a legitimate contender this season, the Knicks need to look outside for help at the trade deadline. Randle has had performances where he takes over, for example, his 30-point, 16 rebound outing against the Indiana Pacers on January 4, but he doesn’t do that every night.

The front office assumed Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker would provide the missing pieces to jolt the team into a more prominent seeding. However, injuries and inconsistencies this season have plagued New York, especially on the defensive side.

On Saturday night, it was their offense that failed to get going, scoring a measly 75 points against the Boston Celtics after winning on a buzzer-beater 108–105 on Thursday.

Without Fournier’s anomaly of 41 points, the Knicks looked flat and sloppy, with Immanuel Quickley posting 18 points in supplement of the French native. After Randle’s outburst, he backed up his anger with 13 points and a -17 +/-.

It has become clear that the Knicks need to find a complementary star next to Randle, as he can’t shoulder the burden by himself in a market like New York. A recent report indicated that Donovan Mitchell desires a bigger market where he can increase his brand awareness and showcase his talent on the best stage, but that could be hearsay until further proof is released.

Of course, Leon Rose and the Knicks’ front office have been intrigued by Portland’s Damian Lillard in the past, but it’s unlikely they make a run at him at the deadline. Indiana center Myles Turner is another name that has bubbled to the surface in recent weeks, representing a scoring five who can contribute in a myriad of ways to help a feeble Knicks offense.

The unfortunate truth is that unless the team brings in a secondary star or superstar to team up with Randle, Thibs will find his team fighting for a play-in spot at the bottom of the chart.

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