Team Name: New York Knicks
Last Year’s Record: 29-53
Key Losses: Kyle O’Quinn, Michael Beasley
Key Additions: Mario Hezonja, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
Hallelujah, the Knicks have a plan: gather up promising young talent and mold them into a real basketball team. But will the head coach and the front office have the patience for a straight-up rebuild, or will it all fall by the wayside in yet another mad Knicks dash for the next shiny veteran?
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?
With apologies to Super Mario Hezonja, the biggest off-season move was drafting Kevin Knox with the No. 9 overall pick. The lanky 19-year-old sent Knicks fans into fits of ecstasy with a breakout Summer League, and he looks like he could be a star scorer sooner rather than later.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?
Young blood. The Knicks will be one of the youngest teams in the league this year, which is all part of the plan. Even free agent signings like Hezonja and Noah Vonleh, both 23-year-old former lottery picks, have youth and upside.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
They probably won’t defend, and they almost certainly won’t grab many defensive rebounds. Are those important?
4. What are the goals for this team?
Development, development, development.
5. Do the Knicks finally have a coach?
Last year’s boss, Jeff Hornacek, fell victim to the classic Knicks coaching blunder: eschewing the development of young talent and playing mediocre vets in a desperate attempt to win now. It was a resounding failure, and Hornacek has been replaced by former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale. Fiz is charismatic as hell, and so far he’s said all the right things, but when the losses start to pile up, will he bench the youngsters like so many of his predecessors?.
6. Is Frank Ntilikina a point guard?
The team’s 2017 lottery pick was perhaps the biggest victim of Hornacek’s vet fetish, as the rookie point guard lost minutes to the likes of Jarrett Jack and Emmanuel Mudiay. Fizdale played Ntilikina primarily off the ball in the Knicks’ first preseason game, starting Trey Burke at the point and handing backup duties to Mudiay. Have the Knicks already given up on Frank as a point guard, despite the fact that they never really gave him much of a shot in the first place?