New York Jets Select OL Mekhi Becton

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

The New York Jets did it; they pulled the trigger on the next anchor of their offensive line. The last homegrown guys who had an impact on the offensive line, Ferguson and Mangold have been retired for a few years now. The Jets haven’t had an anchor to protect their QB; now they have a big one.

Meet Mekhi Becton

Mekhi is definitely the anchor for this offensive line. At 364-lbs and standing 6-foot-7, Becton is sure to be a roadblock for edge rushers. In a division where there are three smart defensive coaches, Becton can protect Sam and block the ferocious edge rushers.

Mekhi is an excellent run blocker and a good pass blocker. Mekhi has the most risk of the core-four of offensive lineman, but the most upside. He ran a 5.10 40 yard dash. Becton is a monster of a man with superb agility. If Becton can make a smooth transition to the next level, the Jets may have just got an All-Pro left tackle.

With the Jets allocating ample cap-space toward the offensive line, they must shore-up their protection and provide Sam Darnold with the help he ultimately needs.

Draft Prospect LeVante Bellamy is a Gem

LeVante Bellamy may not be a household name yet, but in due time he will.  The Western Michigan University running back has been working hard since day one.  He puts his all into the game that he cherishes so much.  He is full of talent and truly skilled when it comes to playing running back.  Just look at his highlights and it is evident to see just how adept and versatile of a back he is.

Bellamy is someone who truly appreciates every opportunity he is given.  No matter what team he is on from high school to college, every single time he steps out onto that field, he gives it his all.  The gratitude and love he has for the game show each time he fights for yards.

Being a good teammate is something Bellamy does exceptionally well, always showing guidance to others.  He is a true leader to all and leads by example both on and off of the field.

Although he may be young he is still quite experienced. Bellamy possesses a maturity and level of sophistication that makes him a great role model to both his fellow teammates and the youth.

No matter what may happen in the upcoming NFL draft, Bellamy is a hidden gem and any team would be lucky to have him and the talent and intelligence that he brings.  He fills go in his football career and beyond, not only for his talent but also for his wisdom, hardworking nature, and humility.

New York Jets: Best (and worst) first-round picks in history

With the NFL draft one day away, the Jets find themselves with an early first-round pick at number 11. The team has had a mix of studs and busts in their history of first-round picks. Players, such as Jamal Adams, will not be mentioned because of their short careers thus far. Let’s take a look at some of the best, and worst, all-time picks the team has made in round one:

Best picks

Joe Namath (No. 1 overall)

Broadway Joe is the most iconic Jet in their history and, perhaps, one of the most iconic players in league history as well. Known for his guarantee that the Jets would defeat the Colts in Super Bowl III, he won the only Lombardi Trophy in team history. Namath threw for 27,057 yards and 170 touchdowns during his 12-year career in New York. The Hall of Fame quarterback remains the most significant draft pick in Jets history.

Darrelle Revis (No. 14 overall)

Revis played eight years with New York in two separate stints. During his first stint, he was arguably the best cornerback in football. Being selected to four Pro Bowls in his first six years, he earned the name “Revis Island” along the way. He also helped lead the team to back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010. Eleven seasons and 29 interceptions later, Revis was rightfully named to the 2010’s All-Decade Team.

Nick Mangold (No. 29 0verall)

Taking over the offensive line and replacing Hall of Famer Kevin Mawae was no easy task. However, once he took over in 2006, Mangold added himself to the list of best centers in the league. Mangold played 11 seasons with the Jets and made seven Pro Bowls while starting all but 12 games. To put that in perspective, he played, and started 164. The all-time great Jets lineman is among the best first-round picks.

Freeman McNeil (No. 3 overall)

McNeil played alongside quarterback Ken O’Brien for New York in the 1980s. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and led the league in rushing yards in 1982, although the season was shortened due to a strike. While playing his entire 12-year career with the Jets, he amassed 38 rushing touchdowns and 8,074 rushing yards, which is second in team history behind Curtis Martin.

Al Toon (No. 10 overall)

Toon played his entire eight-year career with the Jets before he retired due to multiple concussions. He ranks fourth in team history with 517 receptions and led the league with 93 in 1988. The 1986 AFC Player of the Year totaled 6,605 yards, 31 touchdowns, and three Pro Bowls during his career.

Worst Picks

Vernon Gholston (No. 6 overall)

The sixth overall pick in 2008 ended up starting just five games in three seasons with the Jets. Additionally, he never earned a single sack and had just one quarterback hit. The defensive end never lived up to the expectations. Other players that were on the board were Chris Johnson, Aqib Talib, and Jordy Nelson, to name a few.

Blair Thomas (No. 2 overall)

Drafting anyone with the second pick, let alone a running back, is going to bring along high expectations. Thomas was drafted to lead the Jets’ rushing attack but never produced. He never had more than 800 yards in a season and had just six touchdowns throughout four seasons. Another running back they could’ve taken here? Emmitt Smith.

Johnny “Lam” Jones (No. 2 overall)

Here we go again. Another second overall pick that didn’t pan out. The Jets didn’t originally have this pick, but traded picks 13 and 20 to get him. Through five years in New York, Jones had just 13 touchdowns, which is just over two per season. NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz was available as well.

Kyle Brady (No. 9 overall)

The Jets have never had much luck with tight ends, but Brady is towards the bottom of the list. In 63 games, Brady had just 10 touchdowns. In 1996, he started all 16 games but had just 15 receptions all year. Who else was available? NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

Dee Milliner (No. 9 overall)

Being pinned as the replacement for Darrelle Revis is a tough spot to enter into, especially for a rookie. Milliner, who dealt with some injuries, played just 21 games through three seasons, starting 14. It’s safe to say that Dee Milliner was not, in fact, Darrelle Revis 2.0. Just four picks later, the Jets took Sheldon Richardson, who ended up elsewhere.

With the number 11 pick in tomorrow’s draft, the Jets have the opportunity to add to this list. Whether it be because of a great pick or a bust, someone new will be donning the green and white next season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NFL plans to host ‘Draft-a-Thon’ for COVID-19 relief

The NFL announced yesterday that this year’s draft will also be functioning as a three-day fundraiser to assist those helping to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. The league’s foundation selected six charities that the benefits will go towards. The six charities are:

All of the charities are nonprofits and have been assisting during this time in many ways. Their services range from the American Red Cross making sure that there is a sufficient blood supply to the United Way’s foundation helping first responders get any resources they may need.

“As we face this global health crisis together, we are filled with gratitude for the extraordinary work of first responders, healthcare workers and many others who are helping those in need,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as reported on NFL.com. “The Draft-a-Thon will deliver much-need funding to many who are suffering as well as those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The league has already donated roughly $40 million to assist national relief efforts. Fans can help add to this number by donating throughout the three days of the draft. The draft is scheduled for April 23-25 and will be televised on ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network.

More news regarding the Draft specifics should come out in the coming days.

 

New York Giants Draft prospects in the National Title Game

New York Giants, Kristian Fulton

The College Football National Championship is finally here, and New York Giants fans should be paying close attention.  LSU and Clemson are set to square off, and both are loaded with NFL caliber players.  Many of which are in positions of need for Big Blue.  The Giants scouts will have their eyes on Monday nights game, and you should, too. 

Who will the Giants be watching in Monday’s National Championship?

Isaiah Simmons – LB/S, Clemson

Isaiah Simmons needs no introduction.  He has been linked to the New York Giants for some time now.  Truthfully, he would be the only player Monday that would make sense with the 4th pick.  Simmons is an athletic freak that can wear many hats in the defense.  That versatility seems to be something new head coach Joe Judge will be highly intrigued by. 

Simmons spent much of his season playing LB, S, and even CB for the Tigers en route to Monday nights game.  He has excellent range, elite quickness off the snap in pass rush, and the man can tackle!  Simmons has very good man coverage skills, which would be a blessing to this defense.  The Giants taking Simmons would be met with rousing appreciation from a fan base that has been wanting a game-changing linebacker for years.

Kristian Fulton – CB, LSU

Another potential first-rounder for the Giants, but only if they trade back from 4 or he has a mind-blowing combine. Fulton is about everything you’d want in a man cover cornerback — he can get physical at the line of scrimmage in press coverage and can remain in an opposing receivers hip pocket.  Excellent ball skills and can be very explosive when closing down distance while playing off coverage.

Some things to watch with Fulton is he has not been the best tackler, so the run game is far from a strength of his.  It also should be noted that he does have a failed drug test in 2017 that may come up as a red flag.

Grant Delpit – S, LSU

Safety is not something I expect the Giants to address early in the draft, which likely means Delpit’s chances of suiting up in the blue are very slim.  However, his talents are worth watching.  

The 2019 Thorpe Award winner is likely to be the highest-drafted safety in April, and that comes with good reason.  Like Simmons, he’s a versatile player that can play single high or in the box. Delpit has great size and length, can play man or zone coverage, and has incredible instincts that show up in his ability to take the ball away.

K’Lavon Chaisson – Edge, LSU

Chaisson is one of my favorite prospects in the draft.  If the Giants do what I think they should do and that’s trade back, look for Chaisson to have a legitimate chance to be a 1st round selection for New York.  

K’Lavon is more of a stand-up pass rusher that brings outstanding speed to the defense, which helps him in containment.  He often looks to win with pure speed and will need to continue to develop his skillset of pass rush moves, but if you watched the Tigers game against Oklahoma, you’d see how much of a difference-maker Chaisson can be.  The athletic pass rusher was coming off of a torn ACL in 2018, but considering Chaisson chased down one of the fastest WR prospects in the draft, CeeDee Lamb, I would say it’s just fine. 

Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU & Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson – OL

What? I can’t be the only one that will be watching offensive linemen in the National Championship Game, can I?  It is no secret that the Giants have to address the offensive line in the draft. They may look for stop gaps in Free Agency, but getting younger across the line is going to be crucial.

Many will wonder what happens with Jon Halapio going forward after undergoing surgery on a ruptured Achilles in Week 17.  Has his play and injury history kept him from coming back to the organization in 2020?  If so, Cushenberry could be that answer. Cush will be one of the few interior offensive linemen that can also play center, and that versatility could be attractive to the Giants. He’s still raw and won’t be an early-round pick, but given how thin the interior OL class is, he could be a top 100 pick. 

Tremayne Anchrum is another intriguing prospect.  Anchrum is an offensive tackle that many believe would be better suited for a move inside. Tremayne could prove himself a late-round tackle prospect with a good showing against the LSU pass rush.  His balance leaves a lot to be desired, and his length needs improvement to be an NFL tackle, but he has solid athleticism and vision that makes him a potential project.

Tee Higgins, Clemson & Justin Jefferson, LSU – WR

Monday nights National Championship game will be loaded at the skill position on both sides of the ball.  These offenses have all the potential to light up the scoreboard, and Higgins and Jefferson are two massive reasons why.  Both receivers have tremendous height with Higgins listed at 6’4” and Jefferson only an inch shorter at 6’3”.  

Tee may be a slightly more polished receiver than Jefferson, but not by much.  Higgins’ ability to burst off the line of scrimmage is pretty impressive for a bigger receiver. Despite this, he could use a little more physicality in press coverage at the line.  He is fearless with an incredible catch radius, showing off his basketball background when high pointing the football in contested coverage.  

Justin Jefferson has a similar toughness while going for catches when contact is inevitable.  He is creative in his routes, finding open space in zone coverage. He also can beat the defense deep with his speed on posts and fly routes.  Jefferson has what it takes to be another great LSU receiver in the NFL, but will need to work on creating separation against man coverage and cleaning up his technique off the line.  It’s no secret that the New York Giants have found elite receiving talent from LSU… could they do it again with Jefferson? 

NY Jets Mock Draft 1.0 Rounds 4-7

Welcome back to my 1st mock draft attempt of 2020. The goal is to improve the Jets and give them pieces that hopefully lead them to an improvement from 7-9 next year and success in the foreseeable future. In the first 3 rounds of this mock, the Jets added a star wideout, a beast of an offensive lineman, a linebacker with big potential and a potential replacement for Lev Bell. Using The Draft Network Mock Draft Simulator and taking the best players at each position based on needs, potential, and more here is an early projection of what the Jets draft could look like.

Round 4 Pick 110: Trajan Brady CB Miami

The Jets will have some big cornerback decisions in this upcoming offseason. Trumaine Johnson will likely be on his way out. They have other free agents like Brian Poole as well. Poole should be brought back. Arthur Maulet and Bless Austin have shown flashes but the Jets need another corner. Trajan Brady would be an excellent slot corner or rotational cornerback in the future. Brady is FAST and can keep up with a lot of receivers in coverage and support blown coverages. Brady is very undersized but if he can figure out ways to use it to his advantage in the future then he can be a very solid NFL player.

Round 5 Pick 140: Yasir Durant OL Missouri

The Jets need to not only upgrade the offensive line in free agency and with an early-round pick but also in the late rounds as well. Yasir Durant is a raw prospect but one who could easily become a top offensive lineman for this squad. In 2018, Durant allowed fewer QB pressures then both Jawaan Taylor and Jonah Williams, two top linemen from last year’s draft. Durant is the kind of player that with development from a solid offensive line coach, could be a very good NFL Starter. Durant could be a very good value pick in the 5th round and a good piece for the future.

Round 6 Pick 171: Denzel Mims WR Baylor

One of my favorite picks in this draft is Denzel Mims. Mims is a 6’3 receiver with electric speed. Mims can be a monster in the red zone and also be a significant deep threat. He has the makeup of a superstar receiver and his only flaw is some minor technical issues. If Mims can iron some of those issues out with help from offensive assistant Hines Ward and WR Coach Shawn Jefferson then Mims has the potential to contribute early and in a big way. Mims has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in this class and adding him could immediately help the offense, both now and in the future.

Round 7 Pick 202: Big Kat Bryant EDGE Auburn

Big Cat Bryant is a really good athlete. He has not played a lot at Auburn and only has 6.5 sacks in the three seasons he spent there, but the way he’s utilized at Auburn significantly drops his stock. Although Bryant is athletic enough to drop into coverage, has sideline to sideline speed and has solid pass rushing abilities, they play him at defensive end. If Bryant was switched to outside linebacker, his production would immediately increase. That type of athlete in a Gregg Williams defense would be fun to watch. Bryant would fit well in this defense as a rotational linebacker but if he’s a defensive end I don’t know how long he’ll stay on an NFL roster. This would be a potential based pick that the Jets should make.

Summary

The Jets added a speedy cornerback with the potential to be a solid slot corner. They added an offensive lineman with the potential to become a very good start with some technical refinement. They grabbed one of the best wideouts in college football from this past year who could immediately contribute. Lastly, they added an edge rusher with solid potential as a rotational pass rusher. Their Day 3 picks matter just as much as their Day 1 picks. Joe Douglas often has a lot of success in identifying talented Day 3 picks as seen with some of the Eagle’s previous pickups. These are 4 additions that could help the roster significantly and the whole draft class would be one to be proud of for the Jets.

Dave Gettleman Is Leading The New York Giants Into Bat Country

The best way to get through it is to take it one day at a time. Wake up, get through the first hour,  then the next until it’s time to go to sleep again and repeat the cycle. Try not to think about what happened, maybe even pretend it’s still February and none of The Idiot’s damage has been done yet. This is what I keep telling myself….but it doesn’t work. The Idiot is still running the New York Giants and there is nothing we can do about it.

There is a world where the Giants have Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Landon Collins. It’s a wonderful place where a young nucleus is building towards respectability and there’s a clear path for the franchise. It’s made of candy canes and planes and bright, red choo choo trains and you know, I wish that I could go there.

Instead, I’m stuck in this reality where we have Eli Manning for 3 more years, to be followed up by Lloyd Christmas. All because of The Idiot…

He did his best to do the same thing in Carolina. How many times have you seen a team fire and replace a GM with the guy he replaced? It happened to The Idiot. He took a team (built on Cam Newton, Luke Keuchly, Thomas Davis and Greg Olson….all acquired before his tenure) that was 15-1 and a super bowl contender and brought them to 6-10, alienated the players, coaches and organization staffers and tried to force out most of the teams best players as their contracts came up….sound familiar?

Now like all GMs that don’t work for the Redskins, The Idiot has had his ok moments. He drafted Star Louteilei and Kawan Short back to back in the same draft in Carolina and took Saquon Barkley when everyone demanded a QB last year. Unfortunately, he continues to trade quarters for two nickels and a dime in the name of “team culture” and clearly has a plan in the same sense that Wily E. Coyote has one to catch the roadrunner. I’m pretty sure Golden Tate and Jabril Peppers came to the team in boxes stamped Acme.

So what do you do when your favorite NFL team is in the hands of not just an idiot but The Idiot? Well, you can move on for a few years and wait for him to be fired and catch up with the team when an executive who isn’t displaying signs of suffering from a head injury is running the franchise.

You can take to social media and throw your insults and frustration out into the other of the interweb and commiserate with other miserable fans. Finally, you can always drop some acid and act as if maybe his plan is so ingenious that you just can’t comprehend it, and Eli Manning will lead the team to back to back Super Bowls and the retire John Elway style.

I currently reside in Seattle and it’s almost shocking to watch a competent GM rebuild on the fly and keep his team in contention while turning over the roster. Schneider has let aging or expensive vets go at the right time, replenished with mostly mid to late round draft picks, and low-cost free agents. They may not be Championship contenders, but you can see the direction of where they are going, and the team surprised the NFL with last seasons strong showing in what was supposed to be a down year.

So what am I going to do this year? I’m treating the Giants season like a Pink Floyd laser light show at the planetarium and once again channeling my inner Hunter S. Thompson.  In my world The Idiot will be a genius, every wounded duck pass will leave trails in the air, and Eli Manning will be avoiding lizards and bats as he leads the team to victory. I’m psyched and ready for the season to come….now if only I could get some golf shoes…

New York Sports Are Going Through Something…Well, Comical

As the great George Carlin used to say….these are the thoughts running through my head when I’m home alone and the lights go out…

I’ve enjoyed watching the Lebron James attrition tour this season. Is everyone aware he’s the same age as Andre Iguodala? Why would any free agent want to go play with him in L.A. for his age 36 and 37 seasons? The minute Paul George decided not to come to LA the Lakers should have told Lebron thanks but no thanks and stuck with the kids and Luke Walton. The next 2 years are going to be a glorious dumpster fire for all the Lebron and Laker haters…you know..decent human beings.

Another quick NBA thought I haven’t seen anywhere yet. If KD comes to NY as many seem to think, Golden State is sure to resign Klay Thompson. The following season Draymond Green and Iguodala come off the books. If Anthony Davis is smart he would refuse to resign with anyone he’s traded to next year and see if Golden State comes with a max offer. Steph would be going into his age 32 season and Klay 30 with AD 27, wouldn’t that be the most Golden Statesy move to make?

The Phillies have to be feeling great giving 13 years and $330 million dollars to an empty-headed poodle like Bryce Harper who immediately tripped over his own dick and talked about bringing a title back to DC. I’ve seen that once before in a press conference…..in the opening montage of BaseKetball (an underrated classic movie).  At least he’s hit 30 Homer’s twice in seven seasons and batted .300 twice as well…once he even did both in the same year. Good thing Philly fans are intelligent rational people.

The Giants have the 6th pick in this year’s draft and honestly, I hope they take an offensive lineman just to see fans reactions. I think that would finally break the fanbase. Giants fans keep hoping for a Quarterback, remembering how great it was when they took Eli Manning and waiting for the team to deliver again and instead they keep getting Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers (Even our Lord and savior Saquon being selected pissed off half the fanbase at the time.) Giants fans have turned into Weezer fans waiting for the next Pinkerton while the Giants keep giving us the NFL equivalent of Hurley.

The Jets are going to sign Leveon Bell because that’s what the Jets do. They should make him wear a Ladanian Tomlinson throwback Jets Jersey at the press conference. Everything the Jets do is another step on their path to ruin. Sam Darnold and his forehead had that fantastic game to start the season against Detroit and he spent the rest of the year winging spirals to the other team and their best defensive player openly talked about how sick of losing he was. Bringing in an expensive running back whose career is at the top of the hill before he starts accelerating down the other side and hiring a coach who thought Jay Cutler was the solution to his QB issues is pretty on brand for the Jets.

Troy Tulowitzki and Greg Bird have looked great so far in Spring training but I still keep picturing Jacoby Ellsbury sitting at a table at the Cheesecake Factory telling a waiter he’s not quite ready to order yet, his friends will be there soon. I hope I’m wrong and both stay healthy and productive but I’ve been burned before by Bird as a fan, and Tulo has murdered me and so many others in fantasy baseball that he should have to wear a mask like Hannibal Lecter when he comes up to bat. Quid pro quo Clarice.

Do the Mets still play in MLB or were they kicked out as they do with shitty soccer teams so someone else can be in the league. If not could we try that this year? Boot the Mets and put the Roanoke River Rats in the NL East? Maybe Manny Machado could toil away his career in front of no one there instead of San Diego.

Finally, I wanna call out a writer who has disappointed me so much the last week. If I see the “He’s been going off the rails” quote about Robert Kraft from Bill Simmons one more time I’m going to be sick. It’s one thing to be a passionate fan of a team, it’s another to make excuses for despicable behavior and to try to downplay it.

Robert Kraft is a billionaire, I’m sure there were ways for him to get whatever he was trying to get from his spa debacle without taking advantage of women who were essentially held captive. Just because it’s a misdemeanor and he will probably get out of it criminally doesn’t make it any less reprehensible. Blaming the media for making it a “bigger deal” then it should be is also garbage. The owner of the NFL champions solicited sex acts from a victim of human trafficking the morning of the AFC title game….seems like a pretty big story to me. You would have hoped for better than this from Simmons…..oh well Go Sawx amirite?

Opinion: Why The New York Giants Should Take Kyler Murray No Questions Asked

Typically my writing is predominantly about the Yankees or Knicks, but today I’m wading into deep blue waters for one reason — KYLER MURRAY. This is a plea for Dave Gettleman to make the choice that will transform the New York Giants and avoid wasting the primes of Barkley and Beckham. I believe there are two sides of this argument, those that see Murray as the best player in the draft and those that are wrong.

I have spent most of the last decade of my life as a transplanted New Yorker living in Seattle. In that time I’ve watched a too short, deep ball tossing, third round pick totally change a teams culture. So many of the knocks on Murray mirror what was said about Russell Wilson, it’s like nobody learns from their mistakes.

I keep reading how Doug Flutie is the closest comp to Murray when Wilson is the same height and plays a similar style.

What makes Kyler Murray so special?

Murray has a big arm, good touch and accuracy on intermediate passes. He also makes good decisions and does not turn the ball over. Are these traits sounding familiar at all? Oh, and Murray took Oklahoma to the 4 team national championship playoff so along with the physical traits he’s also a winner.

The other contenders to be drafted if the Giants take a QB are Dwayne Haskins who led Ohio State to one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory, and Drew Lock who could maybe be Blake Bortles if he reaches his potential. Or the Giants could skip the middleman and just sign Bortles if/when Jacksonville releases him. He and Eli can have a competition in the spring and the Giants can start looking at QBs at the top of the 2020 draft.

If you add Murray and his ability to extend plays and take shots downfield to the Giants offense you have a nightmare for opposing defenses. What d-back can cover Beckham and Shepard for 6-seconds? And a linebacker or safety on Engram or Barkley? There will be big play opportunities all over the field, and if defenses don’t keep someone in to spy Murray he is perfectly capable of gouging them for huge gains with his legs.

Look at what Lamar Jackson did for the Ravens and none is still sure if he can even throw a forward pass consistently.

The wrong decision can set the Giants back a decade and kill the prime years of two of the most special talents the team has ever seen. Kyler Murray has every trait you would want in a QB other than height, and in the new NFL with spread offenses, RPO’s and quarterbacks being moved out of the pocket the height concern is overblown.

I mean he even has the same baseball background as Wilson and Mahomes, who credit some of their more creative tosses and flips to it. Not to mention the fact that unless the Giants plan on magically getting Orlando Pace and Jonathan Ogden their quarterback wont be spending much time in the pocket anyway. C’mon Dave, swing for the fences in April and bring the best quarterback in the draft to NY, draft Kyler Murray.

 

The New York Knicks Are Bad, But Being Worse Couldn’t Hurt

The New York Knicks are in a difficult position right now as they approach the midpoint of this season. While they jockey for position in the race for the worst record in the NBA, the teams’ young players are improving a little too quickly.

Reclamation projects Noah Vonleh and Emmanuel Mudiay have staked claims on starting roles and are becoming contributors. Rookies Kevin Knox and Alonzo Trier are improving, and soon Mitchell Robinson will return to the rotation as well. It may be time to for the front office to take action to ensure the team is in pole position for the top pick in this years draft.

Where do the New York Knicks need to be?

The Knicks need to be all in on Zion Williamson, currently averaging just under 20ppg and 10rpg for the Duke Blue Devils. It’s not just about the stats, but the energy and excitement he brings to the table. It’s too easy to picture MSG losing its mind after a thunderous dunk by Williamson, and feeling the building shake with excitement for the first time since the late 90s thug ball title contending teams of Pat Riley.

A front court of Porzingis, Knox and Williamson would be embraced by the fanbase for years to come and would supply scoring, energy and athleticism that the team has been lacking for decades. Porzingis as center is the perfect shooter/shot blocker in the wide open era of offenses, Knox has the length, height and talent to be a 3 and D wing, and Zion would be there as the roll man and finisher inside. Along with a back-court of the ever improving Mudiay and the lock down defense of Frank Ntikilina the makings of a contender are starting to coalesce for the Knicks.

Making this vision a reality:

So how do they ensure the vision above becomes a reality? The first step is finishing with the leagues worst record to have the best chance at that top selection in the draft. Step one is buying out Enes Kanter ASAP, and he should be open to this option as well.

Kanter has been a great teammate,  and has had some great games but is clearly frustrated to be coming off the bench for a team going nowhere. Trading him is not an option due to his $18 million dollar cap hit, and the need to take that much back in salary in any deal. If the Knicks want to keep their Durant dreams alive, they’ll need Kanter’s expiring contract off their books. Halfway through the season, all he’s owed is about 9 million so they should be able to work out a deal that’s agreeable to both sides.

The next step is tougher, and that’s finding a taker for Tim Hardaway Jr. and his contract. You may be surprised to hear that in the era of efficiency teams are not lining up for a shot at volume scorer who does not shoot well (under 40% fg, and 35% 3pfg), hasn’t played defense since he was at Michigan, and averaged less than 4 rebounds or assists per game.

Essentially he’s a poor man’s version of Carmelo Anthony in his prime. If Courtney Lee can show some ability to shoot and play defense again maybe there’s a playoff team that could use a bench scorer , and a defensive wing who could shoot (Dallas?) and a package could be worked out shipping them off together.

By cutting ties with Kanter and Hardaway the Knicks should be able to out-tank Atlanta and Cleveland for the bottom of the NBA barrel and move closer to a brighter future. What’s one more step back for a team that’s been in reverse for a decade if the ultimate step forward can change the franchise for the next 15 years?