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Georges Niang has entered New York’s radar. Should the Knicks pursue The Minivan?

The former Sixers forward will be available as a free agent this summer.

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New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

After a season in which the New York Knicks struggled a bit on the shooting front, it makes sense to find some names popping up in the rumor mill heading into free agency (opening next Friday at 6 p.m. ET) that could at least partially fix those issues for an affordable price.

In a recent piece written by Fred Katz of The Athletic ($), the beat reporter offered some names for the Knicks to consider adding to their roster come July, including one of a soon-to-be former Philadelphia 76ers player: Georges Niang.

Niang, who turned 30 years old a couple of weeks ago, is about to hit the open market this summer after his deal runs out come July 1st. That was a two-year deal valued at nearly $7M total, the largest Niang ever signed since he entered the Association back in 2016 as a second-round draft pick by the Indiana Pacers.

The forward has split his time between the three and the four positions throughout his career, though he’s been mostly a power forward of late according to data found in Just last season, in 78 games and 1,512 minutes played, Niang logged 94% of those minutes at the PF position with just one percent coming as the team’s three and the remaining five percent manning the paint.

Niang is best known for his shooting prowess. As Katz wrote in his piece, the veteran “lights nets on fire from the corners,” which is all the Knicks’ brass need to hear to have him as a potential target entering July.

Niang kept up 44.2/40.1/86.7 shooting splits last year, and it’s now been five consecutive seasons for him hitting threes at a 40%+ clip while attempting at least 1.8 3PA per game. In fact, Niang has hoisted a minimum of 3.4 three-point shots per contest in four consecutive campaigns, and he’s topped 4+ 3PA a pop in the last three while bagging an average of 40.8% of those.

In a different piece for the same outlet, former ESPN analyst and Memphis Grizzlies VP of Basketball Operations John Hollinger ranked Niang as the 15th-best power forward available ($) in this summer’s free agent market.

Hollinger wrote that “all you need to know” about Niang is that he “shot 40.1 percent from 3 last season, is at 40.3 percent for his career, and shoots 3s as frequently as nearly any other player in the league,” which we already said above. Hollinger, though, warned potential suitors that Niang is “undersized for the four, not a great defender, doesn’t rebound, and he rarely shoots inside the arc.”

The analyst projected Niang to a $4.6M contract (yearly) while saying that he would be “a great fit as a backup four nearly anywhere because of his shooting.”

The lack of defensive chops might end up being a deal-breaker for Thibs, though, considering the Knicks coach’s tendencies and how he values that part of the game.

Niang averaged 8.2 points per game last season to go with 2.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.2 BPG. On a per-100 possession basis, he posted a solid 114 ORtg but a rather mediocre 116 DRtg, which might be a straight no-no for Thibs. For context, that DRtg figure was worse than those earned by current Knicks’ bigs Julius Randle (114), Jericho Sims (114), Isaiah Hartenstein (111), and Mitchell Robinson (110) last season.

The latest update on Niang’s front came more than a month ago when he said “I love it here in Philly” discussing his future following the Sixers’ loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. “I haven’t really wrapped my head around everything, but I really enjoyed being here and the guys, the camaraderie, the organization, it’s been amazing,” he told Ky Carlin of the Sixers Wire back then.

Niang joins a long list of players tracked by the Knicks, including a forgotten Sun, a negationist Chicago Bull, and a Steph Curry understudy. Expect the whispers to ramp up their volume as we inch closer to Friday’s grand free-agency opening.