The Knicks are gearing up to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday evening, and coming off three wins consecutively, New York is riding a high. However, we have seen the inconsistencies that plague the Knicks in the past, but there is hope they have finally gotten over the hump, stringing together not only a few wins but close victories — finishing games. The keyword there is “finish,” one that wasn’t understood against the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and even Philadelphia 76ers a few weeks ago.
This seems to be a new age for head coach Tom Thibodeau and his team of defenders, considering the Knicks rank first in the league, allowing 104.4 points per game. Despite the recent turnaround, that doesn’t mean the Knicks couldn’t use a bit more talent around them, especially a star player to pair with Julius Randle.
There is hope that RJ Barrett can be that number two next to Randle, but adding a point guard might be the focus during the 2021 off-season, and the team may target Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ball, who was expected to suit up against New York on Wednesday, will likely miss the game with left hip flexor soreness. His sought-after audition will have to wait, but the Knicks still consider him highly despite missing the last three games and showing a bit of fatigue more than halfway through the season. Ball is having his best campaign to date, averaging 14.5 points on .424 shooting from the field and .384 shooting from downtown. Consider this, Barrett has been on a tear as of late from three, currently averaging .378%, which is still below Lonzo’s current measurements.
Replacing Elfrid Payton with Ball would be stellar, as they can roll over the $5 million into an extension for the 23-year-old PG from California. Seeing a slight bump in offensive efficiency is a positive, and we know Thibs will turn on the inner defender in him.
I’m not too worried about Ball missing this contest, as New York clearly sees his increase in statistical output. Just take a look at this, Ball’s free-throw percentage has increased from .566 last season to .792 this year. In fact, a majority of his shooting specifics have seen vast improvements, which is a great sign for a player going into a contract year.