The Knicks Wall Mid-Season Roundtable: The State of the Future Knicks
In a three-part series, The Knicks Wall staff takes a look at the state of the Knicks. Today, we discuss how the future could be shaped.
The future is never lucid, it’s free-flowing and changing with every big or small decision made in the present.
That being said, the decisions being made now could rapidly change the make up of the Knicks along with future successes or failures.
Let’s check in on what our staff thinks is the state of the future for the ‘Bockers.
What should they do about their younger talent?
James W. —
Well at this point, Hornacek should be figuring out a way to incorporate the younger guys into having starter minutes. Leslie Jones touched on Hornacek’s coaching in her ESPN interview and in some ways I agree with it. He’s not a bad coach and your question isn’t directly about him. However, I’ve had some issues with his coaching preferences as it pertains to the younger guys. The Knicks are comfortably out of the eighth spot.
No one in Knicks brass will outright say it, but they're tanking.
Given that we can see what the reality is, Hornacek faces no harm or criticism by starting Ron Baker and Mindaugas Kuzminskas more with Kristaps Porzingis. At best, Baker brings a defensive element that Rose doesn’t.
Now that the Knicks finally have their hands on some young talent, mainly in KP and Willy Hernangómez, it’s most important that they build this team around them going forward. In order to do that the front office may have to make some changes to the current roster this offseason, or even as soon as by the trade deadline.
Evaluating talent has always been an issue with the Knicks’ front office. However, in recent years, a scout by the name of Clarance (the gawd) Gaines, Jr., has found for us Porzingis, Hernangómez, and former Knick Langston Galloway. Assuming we can trust Gaines’ eye for talent, then the Knicks should follow suit and build around those pieces. Build guard depth around those two and, for Jebus sake don’t trade that 2017 pick (*frantically sims Tankathon.com*).
Trade them all for past their prime veterans!!! Just kidding. Develop, develop and develop. We have seen Hernangómez turn into a legitimate player this season when given minutes. He needs more moving forward, but we are trending that direction and I believe will continue to do so.
As far as KP is concerned, I would like to see him put on the block more. I firmly believe for him to become the franchise cornerstone the Knicks will need him to be for them to be successful, he needs to develop a better back to the basket low post game. I fear if he continues to play as he does now and limit himself, he will max out as a glorified Ryan Anderson. KP will need to be challenged and beat down in order to improve. I think he is the type to respond well to this. I just hope his body holds up. He is one or two injuries away from being labeled “injury prone” and that is never a good thing.
Who on the Knicks is untouchable?
James W. —
Hernangómez. That’s it. Any and everybody is up for grabs if them being packaged. Hernangómez has proven himself to be a double-double machine. To be honest, as I said, we should have seen more of Willy at the 5 with Kyle O’Quinn coming off the bench. But whatever. From this point forward, I see Willy as our primary backup center. That being said, KOQ has a movable contract and he’s definitely helped his stock this season. If the Knicks are going to make a move by the deadline, I wouldn’t be shocked if KOQ is involved in it.
I mean the easy answer is Porzingis. We really don’t know what his ceiling is when utilized correctly. That means not isolating him and leaving him to die out on the block, where he could improve, but it’s not the predominant part of his offensive game. And on defense, if the Knicks’ guards could somewhat keep their counterparts in front of them then we wouldn’t have bigs out of position for either layps or open shots on the perimeter.
Porzingis and Willy play relatively well together and Willy provides a tradition big, back-to-the-basket for KP to slither his way through screens and flash-and-slash to the bucket where no one should be able to defend him in those situations.
No one. I truly believe that KP will end up being an All-Star caliber player, but I just do not see him as an All-NBA type talent yet. KP is the only player even close to untouchable, but if the right offer came the Knicks way that made sense? I wouldn’t hate it. But I highly doubt any offer worthy of getting rid of the Unicorn will ever present itself. Aside from KP, absolutely no one. I love Willy, but the better he starts to look the better trade piece he becomes, and the fact that he only plays center, and will only play center, goes against what a lot of people want, KP playing mostly center.
In my mind Porzingis, Hernangómez, and Kuzminskas are the only players that should be completely off limits to any team looking to make a trade with New York.
Which free agent targets would you go after this off-season?
Hey, remember when the Knicks could have traded for Kyle Lowry in exchange for peanuts? Well he’s a free agent again, but will likely re-sign with Toronto.
Anyway, if they’re looking for guard help, Chris Paul is an option and I’m not too sure he’s all that happy with the situation in Los Angeles, although they at least can get into the playoff picture instead of the outside-looking-in Knicks.
Another name I’ll throw out is…Gordon Hayward! He’s really good! Hayward is a solid wing with speed, outside shooting, slashing ability, and commendable defensive talents. Unfortunately, Utah probably re-signs him, too.
Jrue Holiday, Serge Ibaka, Jeff Teague and if the Wizards let him walk, Otto Porter Jr. All of these guys could really help out the Knicks. Jrue Holiday is a franchise point guard, Jeff Teague is a solid distributor who can get the ball to the guys on the floor who deserve it, Ibaka probably isn’t leaving Toronto, but he is the perfect type of fit in pretty much every system and him and KP next to one another down low would be A LOT of fun. Porter is developing into a very good player who plays very efficiently. Honestly, I just want someone to come in and make a difference.
James W. —
This is a weak FA class so I’m more banking on the Knicks having to draft well. If we re-sign Justin Holiday, then I do think Jrue Holiday should be no. 1 on the target list. Much like what the Giants did last winter, I’d like to see the Knicks focus on the defensive side. Whomever they pursue, let it be because the guy has a high defensive I.Q. and can play off the ball and defend the arc.
As for the offseason, I think Jrue Holiday should be a top priority in free agency, but the Knicks should mostly focus on building through the draft and finding a second piece to grow alongside KP and Willy. Shoutout Malik Monk.