The New York Knicks have been the unfortunate laughing stock of the NBA for the past few years. Since 2013, the Knicks have yet to make the playoffs, the third longest NBA playoff drought to date behind the Suns and Kings.
In order to be competitive in a division with the Nets, Raptors, 76ers and Celtics, the Knicks were desperate to make good moves this offseason. Let’s explore some of their off-season acquisitions, okay?
Good shot # 1: Knicks draft Obi Toppin 8th overall
Even though the Knicks were loaded with power before the draft, the Knicks are doing the right thing and taking the best available player of pick eight. Toppin was the 2020 Naismith Player of the Year with Dayton. He was an unstoppable force in his second season with the Flyers and most people had him as a top five pick. Toppin slipped into the project and New York got a freebie.
Toppin is a versatile forward who embodies all the attributes you would expect from a modern NBA great man. He’s great in transition, likes to play in the pick and roll, and can even shoot the ball deep. While he primarily operated from the college job, expect Toppin to be featured in choice and select and pop action.
Toppin should be an offensive cornerstone moving forward. Excellent choice in New York.
Hot shot # 2: Knicks add depth to veterans
The Knicks lost some key roster items to free agency and had to add depth in order to maintain a bench presence in 2021.
The Knicks lost: Damyean Dotson, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Mo Harkless, Theo Pinson, Bobby Portis
Harkless, Payton, Portis, Ellington and Dotson all played important minutes for the Knicks last season, so it’s vital that those minutes are replaced with quality players.
Nerlens Noel was recently signed by New York to support Mitchell Robinson at the Center. Noel gives the Knicks home defense and athleticism in fifth place. Mitchell Robinson has struggled with trouble in his career, so gaining a solid backup was essential.
Austin Rivers also signed with the Knicks this offseason, allowing them to score and play on their second unit. Rivers adds a consistent depth of guard and should help fill the void of the loss of Dotson and Ellington.
The Knicks also added veteran goaltender Alec Burks. Burks is an explosive goalscorer who can really offend a rather stagnant attack.
Good move # 3: Knicks cash with other draft picks
The Knicks did not stop their excellent draft with Obi Toppin. Later in the draft, they added Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley and Minnesota center Daniel Oturu. Quickley is a perfect addition to current Knicks starter RJ Barrett.
Quickley can play ball and excels as a secondary playmaker. He does a great job attacking the basket with speed, but his best offensive trait is without a doubt his shot. Quickley was one of the best shooters in the entire project and immediately fills a need for New York. Last season, the Knicks averaged 9.6 lines per game, which was the last in the NBA. The Knicks add a consistent three-point threat to the draft.
Leandro Bolmaro may not be an immediate impact player for the Knicks, but has the potential to be one of the draft thieves. Bolmaro is a 6 ′ 6 ′ point guard from Argentina with excellent pitch vision and playmaking skills. Bolmaro would give the Knicks the size and versatility of their backcourt. Having Bolmaro and Barrett on the pitch at the same time would give the Knicks some serious play and size.
Overall rating: B / B +
The Knicks have recently been known to shoot for the stars, but falling flat on their face. But this offseason has seen them make more patient, traditional rebuilding moves instead. The front office hasn’t hit any home runs, but has done a good job overall this offseason. Who justifies them a grade of B / B + in my books.
They didn’t land a great free agent and lost some good pieces of the bench, but they did a good job replacing those players with young talent. They picked the best player available in the draft and accommodated some of the team’s needs by adding shooting and guarding skills.
Despite the lack of groundbreaking moves, the Knicks have clearly improved this offseason. But considering how good their division is, I doubt that will make them a playoff team. New York is a rebuilding franchise, so it will take at least a few years for the Knicks to be competitive in the East.
No matter where they sit in the rankings this year, New York should be proud of their moves this offseason which at least points them in the right direction.
Get ready to see an improved Knicks franchise in 2021.