Knicks Season Outlook: What the Knicks do from here?
The Knicks are in a bit of a bind. With the 2021 NBA draft coming to this offseason with talent as we have never seen before, the 6th seed Knicks are trying to balance their playoff aspirations with the quality of their future assets. Given that, the Knicks must act smart during the deadline.
First, the Knicks should hold on to Julius Randle. Randle has shot better from 3 than Lillard, more PPG than Anthony Davis, and more RPG than Joel Embiid this season. Further, he has had one of the highest usage rates in the league with no recent injuries and has been able to maintain his level of play.
Most importantly, he’s only 26. Trading Randle now would only make sense if what the Knicks got in return was a near king’s ransom. Even then, Randle brings so much value to the team as a point forward with high efficiency, as well as his positive locker room enforcement.
Julius Randle, truthfully, is and will be the future of this team in the next 3-5 years.
Secondly, do not trade any of the young core pieces. This includes Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson. These three guys, along with Randle, will most likely make up the starting lineup for the years to come.
Quickley is on par to be the best rookie in FT% in history and has already made the mid-range floater as one of his signature moves. His current statline is also impressive: 12.4 PTS, 2.7 AST, 2.3 REB, 41.0% FG, 36.9% 3PT. Similar rookie stats are in line with that of Tony Parker, Malcolm Brogdon, and Andre Miller.
RJ and Mitch have both improved tremendously from one season to the next given this new coaching staff and should be kept off of that amazing progression alone.
So, what kinds of deals should the Knicks make? Right now, Kevin Knox and Frank Ntlikina, prior core pieces, have now been taken over by the likes of Obi Toppin and Quickley.
Even if it is only for a 2nd rounder in return, the Knicks should take the deal that they get. Each piece of future capital they obtain can be further used in a trade to move up in the draft if their pick is out of the lottery.
If the Knicks do make the playoffs, given their depth, and obtain a pick outside the Top 14, expect them to package that pick along with some 2nd rounders for a higher value pick.
The Knicks can also choose to package Austin Rivers with either of Knox and Frank, but these players are the only moveable assets that this team can sacrifice.
As far as rotations go, Thibs has been doing a great job in keeping our young core in and out when we need them. In fact, the team’s most valuable assets have not been injured as frequently as people thought that it would.
Given that this roster, if taken last year under coach Fizdale, would most likely be bottom-seed, Thibs is pure evidence that he knows how to bring the best in his players and push them.
Even if New York is a 1st round exit, or barely makes the playoffs, the team is competitive and is making noise in the brittle Eastern Conference.
With two first rounders in the 2021 draft, and five more picks in the net 2-3 years, the Knicks are currently on track to have a bright future contingent if they play this trade deadline with their own cards.