The Knicks’ incredible streak of nine straight wins ended on Saturday night after getting defeated 113-105 by the Los Angeles Lakers.
New York held an 86-80 lead going into the fourth quarter but was outscored 33-19 in the final frame. Playing without Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Quentin Grimes, Jalen Brunson scored 36 points to lead the Knicks. Donte DiVincenzo had 26. The two combined for 62 of New York’s 105 points.
In my last article, I talked about how the Knicks needed improvements on offense. Their defense has been fantastic, but some additional scoring and playmaking off the bench would be huge. Two names that have been linked to the Knicks are Malcolm Brogdon and Jordan Clarkson. Both would certainly fill a need that is important as the Knicks gear up for a playoff run.
Clarkson is averaging 17.5 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds this season for the Utah Jazz. He’s not shooting efficiently, only hitting 41.7 percent of his 15 field goal attempts per game. From three, he’s connecting on just 29.1 percent of his attempts. His box plus-minus is not good this season. He’s a -3.1 in defensive and -1.2 in offensive, making him a -4.3 in box plus-minus. The 31-year-old also has a -3.4 net rating. Clarkson did start the season in the starting five but has shifted to the bench for a little while now. I’ll give him some benefit of the doubt due to inconsistent minutes.
In my article from January, I talked about whether the Knicks should trade for Jordan Clarkson. Knowing his role would be a big piece of the acquisition. If he’s going to come in and take a lot of inefficient shots, the Knicks should look elsewhere. Scoring is needed, but continuing the defensive pressure is equally important; it’s the Knick’s identity.
If New York can’t get the second player I’m about to mention, Jordan Clarkson would be a worthwhile trade option that could offer a little bit of everything.
The Portland Trail Blazers guard is the player I hope the Knicks ultimately end up trading for. Brogdon is averaging 15.7 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.8 rebounds this season. He has not shot great on field goal attempts this season, only hitting 44 percent. The Blazers guard is knocking down 41.2 percent of his three-point attempts and has a 56 percent true shooting percentage.
Brogdon is having a big impact on the court for a Portland team that sits 15-35 in the standings. The 31-year-old is +1.9 in offensive and +0.6 in defensive win shares, bringing his total to +2.5. In comparison, Jordan Clarkson is 0.0 in offensive win shares and +0.3 in defensive win shares. When it comes to box plus-minus, Brogdon is -0.7 defensive and +2.5 offensive, +1.8 total. Don’t let that -0.7 turn you off. On a more defensive-based team like the Knicks, Brogdon would be a positive in defensive box plus-minus. Clarkson has played 1,230 minutes compared to Brogdon’s 1,121 minutes. It’s clear from the advanced stats who has been the more impactful player this season.
It’s not a knock against Jordan Clarkson; rather, it’s a personal preference for acquiring Malcolm Brogdon. He’s shooting 40.5 percent on above-the-break three-pointers and brings the defensive intensity that fits right in on this team. His defensive rating is an unimpressive 114.5 this season, but I look at last year’s 109.3 when he was on the Celtics as a more accurate description. The same goes for his net rating, as he’s -3.7 this season but was +5.7 last season.
Brogdon has also played in 43 playoff games in his career. Last season, he averaged 11.9 points, 2.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1 turnover in 19 playoff games with the Boston Celtics. Bringing that playoff experience would be a positive, and he’s a reliable hand the Knicks can hand the ball to. I’m sure Brogdon loves the potential of going up against his former team in the playoffs. Just a few days ago, he said he felt unvalued during his time in Boston. There would be nothing like sticking it to your former team by beating them with their rival.
Malcolm Brogdon would be an excellent acquisition, and he’s the exact player the Knicks should be vying for.