We learned Monday that the New York Knicks appear to be on the verge of signing guard Tony Wroten to a multi-year deal. Now is final yet -- the medical staff is gonna earn their pay checking out Wroten's surgically-repaired knee -- but that doesn't mean we can't look at the thought process that went into this move.
The Knicks must really like this kid ... for next season
Given the stated predilection of the front office (or at least the head coach) to win as many games as possible, it seems odd to give the final roster spot to a player who might not see the court. Per Marc Berman:
Wroten, coming off a partially torn ACL from last season, is not guaranteed to see any game action as the club wants him to strengthen the knee. He may just be a practice player. The plan is to develop the soon-to-be 23-year-old released by the Sixers in late December and perhaps bring him to the summer league.
The Knicks were also supposedly interested in Tim Frazier, who is very much ready to step in and contribute right away. But they went for Wroten's upside. Is that a bad thing? Hell no, it's actually kind of encouraging -- for all Kurt Rambis's bluster about winning now at all costs, the front office is more concerned with finding players who can contribute in 2016-17.
I hope the Knicks wanted to sign him to a three-year deal
Initial reports that the Knicks were signing Wroten to a three-year deal turned out to be premature; they couldn't do that even if they wanted to, as they are over the salary cap. Still, it would be nice if they were looking for that third year.
Three years for a player like Wroten sounds insane, but these multi-year, partially-guaranteed deals are the new norm in the NBA.
You do it to protect yourself. If Wroten plays out of his mind, & u have him on a one-year deal, you risk losing him in FA this summer. Dumb— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 7, 2016
The Knicks have been slow to catch on to this trend. They lost Chris Copeland because they didn't add a partially-guaranteed second year to his rookie deal. And think of how much better it would be for the team's cap next season if they could simply pick up a cheap team option on Langston Galloway instead of letting him test the market as a restricted free agent.
Longer, partially-guaranteed deals are your friend, Knicks.
Yeah, this kid can get into the lane (when healthy, that is)
I present to you the 2014-15 league leaders in drives per game, courtesy of NBA Stats:
Kind of a mixed bag there -- some of the best perimeter players in the league with the odd Michael Carter-Williams and Elfrid Payton thrown in. Wroten's field goal percentage on drives was toward the lower end of the spectrum, but that 8.1 points per game looks tasty. How many points do the Knicks average on drives this season as a team? Try 10.5 points per game -- dead last in the NBA, and 3.2 points below the next lowest team (Indiana).
The Knicks are taking a minimal risk to shore up a major area of weakness. And they made it with an eye toward the future. Even if Tony Wroten never plays a game in the orange and blue, I appreciate the process.