Knicks Trade Deadline: So far this season, the Knicks have surprised us. There were many predictions that the team would only go so far as 22 wins by the end of the season — and with three quarters of the season to go, 8 wins already.
At this rate, the Knicks will finish with a 34-38 record at a 47% win rate. Historically speaking, over the past five years in the Eastern Conference, teams with around the same batting average land in the 9th-11th seed.
Behind Randle’s emerging MIP campaign along with RJ’s dominant leap from his rookie season, the Knicks are finding ways to beat teams like the Bucks, Hawks, and even the Jazz. Further, given the Play-in tournament this year, the Knicks have a real shot at the NBA playoffs.
However, Julius Randle has one of the highest usage rates in the league. So does RJ. The Knicks are also in the bottom half of the league in 3pt shooting and dead last in APG. However, we are the best team defensively, in almost all categories.
Simply put, there is a chance that this rate is not as sustainable as we would like it to be. A couple of bad games from Randle or RJ can make that difference. Given that we need some more scoring punches, some depth, as well as defensive stability, the Knicks should be one of the most active teams in the trade deadline in order to remain competitive.
Here’s a look at the Knicks possible trades in order to mitigate our issues in APG and three-point shooting percentage.
Knicks Trade Deadline Possibilities – Trade #1:
Hornets Receive: DSJ or Frank Ntlikina + 2 Future 2nd Round Picks
Knicks Receive: Terry Rozier
First, Rozier has played well this year, and is one of the most tradable assets Charlotte has given their logjam at the guard position. Further, it seems that Graham and Lamelo and Monk are a key part of their future and Rozier therefore becoming the odd man out.
However, the deal for Hornets works as they get assets in the draft in the future. On the Knicks end, neither DSJ or Frank are getting minutes regardless, and will most likely continue to not be used. As the 13th seed, the Hornets have no business in getting a playoff spot and would much rather invest in future assets.
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Knicks Trade Deadline Possibilities – Trade #2:
Cavs Receive: Elfrid Payton or/and Reggie Bullock
Knicks Receive: Javale Mcgee
The Knicks are in dire need of depth at the 4 and 5. The Knicks do have Noel, but Taj is rarely being used. We need more defensive stability when Robinson steps off the floor, and Mcgee serves to play a similar style.
We see how much the Knicks can fall off the rail when their paint defense is missing, especially when Noel is the only center playing when Mitch goes to foul trouble or Randle loses energy. The Cavs, on the other hand, could use more shooters, as they have a huge amount of centers on the team already.
After the deadline, this lineup would look like the following:
Starting Lineup: Terry Rozier/Austin Rivers/RJ Barrett/Julius Randle/Mitchell Robinson
Bench: Immanuel Quickley/Alec Burks/Kevin Knox/Obi Toppin/Nerlens Noel/Javle McGee/Elfrid Payton or Reggie Bullock(if either remain)/Taj Gibson/Ignas Brazdeikis
Although only marginally better on paper, this squad has the extra edge that it needs when there needs to be a scoring punch or defensive consistency when there is an off night or injury from the starting five.
With the upgrade at the point to Rozier, as well as the reliable defensive center in Mcgee while shipping out inactive players like Dennis Smith Jr, this Knicks team can make a solid and consistent run at the playoffs, especially given the Play-in tournament.