The Knicks, as they usually have been under Leon Rose, are doing their due diligence and taking a look at all possible options as they look to round out their roster. In their attempt to do so, they attended private workouts for both Alize Johnson and Ben McLemore earlier this week in Las Vegas.
And, while it’s not uncommon to hear about teams attending private workouts for free agents, it is a bit surprising to see the Knicks being linked to these two. Johnson had a strong showing in the G-League last season, averaging 16.5 ppg, 14 rebounds, and 6.1 assists in 11 games but he only appeared in only four NBA games last season, and averaged just 1.8PPG and 2.5RPG in 7.5MPG in those contests. The 27 year-old is a high-energy forward that can bring some size and athleticism and maybe even thrive as a Julius Randle backup for a coach that would likely appreciate his hustle. But his lack of an outside shot makes him a bad fit given the fact that the Knicks need reliably outside shooting more than anything else right now.
Knicks were among the teams who attended a private workout for free agents Alize Johnson and Ben McLemore in Las Vegas.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 10, 2023
McLemore, on the other hand, can shoot. The 30 year-old vet, who averaged 10.2PPG two seasons ago in Portland, shot 41.5% from deep in the 18-19 campaign and is a career 36.3% shooter from downtown. But the 6’3” guard would find it very difficult to crack a rotation that is already too guard-heavy. With Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo all slated to play significant a significant role and log big minutes, it just doesn’t make much sense. And it’s unlikely that they are taking a look at the former Kansas Jayhawk as a potential insurance for if Quickley or Grimes is dealt this summer. McLemore didn’t even play a single second in the league last season, and it would make little sense for a team that is still a couple pieces away from truly contending to sign a veteran who played overseas over the other younger and likely better options available.
It’s nice to see the front office dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, but with Johnson’s shooting woes and the Knicks backcourt already being a logjam, fans likely won’t see either of them in a Knicks jersey and needn’t read too much into this.