Is the New York Knicks depth enough to carry them to the playoffs?

New York Knicks, Noah Vonleh, Frank Ntilikina

Can the New York Knicks survive off their depth?

While the New York Knicks have a questionable starting lineup, their depth is encouraging and has the quality to be one of the most productive in the NBA. However, without an adequate starting unit, it will be challenging to succeed at a high-level and earn a spot in the postseason.

Some might argue that the Knicks starting five is full of talent and capable of surprising us all. A more realistic bunch might hit on some of the questions marks that remain on the team. For example, the lack of chemistry the team currently has, the youth that they will put out onto the court, and the inconsistencies at their point guard position.

Dennis Smith Jr. might have a ton of optimism surrounding him, but he isn’t an elite scorer despite being an above-average athlete that comes up with momentum-changing plays on occasion.

Behind Smith Jr., the Knicks have Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton, two reserve-caliber players that won’t crack the starting team, theoretically giving Dennis the advantage.

It is expected that RJ Barrett, the Knicks third overall pick of the 2019 NBA draft, will be a starting player this season. There are plenty of challenges for him to overcome, and they will be displayed on the court daily. His lack of experience will limit the ultimate success the Knicks can have, but their depth might be able to supplement some of his deficiencies.

The players coming off the bench—Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Damyean Dotson, Allonzo Trier, Noah Vonleh, Payton and Ntilikina.

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Second-round pick, Ignas Brazdeikis, has also looked impressive this off-season giving him a potential shot at playing time in 2019-20.

The reality is, the Knicks don’t have any superstars on their team after losing out to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they do have plenty of productive players that can compensate to a degree. While the playoffs might be an optimistic goal at this point, they have the potential to raise a few eyebrows down the stretch.

New York Knicks: Is Kevin Knox ready to become a full-time starter?

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett

Similar to his rookie campaign, New York Knicks power forward Kevin Knox had a solid Summer League, but this time around he seems different.

Coming into the league a more seasoned player, it’s obvious Knox has been developing his aggressiveness towards the rim and really attacking players in the paint. While we saw this last year, he didn’t seem to have the strength or gusto to weave his way through defenders.

https://twitter.com/Scott_Charlton/status/1149155552070656000

So far during the Summer League, he’s been putting all of his moves on display. Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Knox put up 25 points shooting 58.3 percent from the field (NBA.com). He also made two-of-five three-point attempts (40%).

While he did turn the ball over three times, something he will need to work on, his numbers have certainly been elevated which is a good sign. Last season, he averaged 12.8 points per game over 28.8 minutes played. In addition, his assist rate seems to be up as well, indicating his scanning of the floor and playing to facilitate and not objectify.

New York Knicks: Kevin Knox isn’t the only youngster coming into his own

Knox has looked stellar so far, and his rookie teammate RJ Barrett is finally coming around too, claiming his second-consecutive double-double and first triple-double in a 117-96 win for the Lakers.

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Barrett, who scored 21 points, shooting 35.3 percent from the field, also earned 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He had a very nice game utilizing his athleticism and dominating from the inside. His three-point game continues to struggle as he adapts to the length of the court, but he’s working his way into a role that will be consistent come the start of the regular season.

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Both Knox and Barrett will likely be starting options alongside Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, and Dennis Smith Jr. They have impressive rotational depth with Bobby Portis (could also start over Knox), Allonzo Trier, Ignas Brazdeikis, Damyean Dotson (can also start), Kadeem Allen, Frank Ntilikina, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, and Noah Vonleh. These are the primary players with several others sprinkled into the mix.

It will be interesting to see how the starting roster plays out, and having too much talent to choose from is certainly not a bad thing. Unfortunately, none of the options here are considered superstar caliber.