There are times when it feels almost impossible to describe the state of the team with any sort of confidence.
In that, we’re going to focus on the upcoming draft and the needs the Knicks have.

On Monday (3/2/20) Leon Rose was signed and announced as the next president of basketball operations in replacement of the terrible tenure under Steve Mills. Similarly, here we’re going to be looking to new horizons with the players who are more likely to be on the team in the future. Trying to blend some younger vets with the youthful core didn’t work as planned. Assuming that all/most of those players should be “in” this future is a discussion I’m not interested in having.

Some of them have value in being around (see the Hawks and the Knicks as what not to do), but they need to be more selective with their choices. Gibson, Harkless, and Dotson would be that archetype of the veterans to put around the youth. Trier, DSJ, and Reggie are another tier, acceptable but less suited for the players below*.

Despite the competition being as sub-par as we were on Saturday night against the Bulls, all of these players showed they have the potential to fit nicely next to each.

RJ Barrett 19 13.8 5.0 2.5 0.9 0.3 2.2 12.8
Mitchell Robinson 21 9.4 7.0 0.6 0.9 2.0 0.6 5.5
Frank Ntilikina 21 5.9 2.2 3.0 0.9 0.3 1.3 5.6
Kevin Knox 20 6.6 2.8 0.9 0.3 0.4 0.7 6.2
Ignas Brazdeikis 21 1.9 0.6 0.4 0.0 0.1 0.2 2.4
*Kenny Wooten + Lamar Peters are included but no NBA time. Most of Ignas’s time as been in the G-League. See 2nd Table.
Ignas Brazdeikis 20.9 7.2 3.1 0.6 0.4 2.5
Lamar Peters(21) 17.9 2.7 7.3 1.3 0.2 3.5
Kenny Wooten(21) 7.7 6.1 1.3 0.6 3.6 1.1

Until we see them all together a lot of this is speculation but with then again, so is drafting. Perceived draft class strength aside there are a few players who seem apt for fitting right into the group on the Knicks.

Instead of looking at the whole we’re going to analyze how specific draft picks will unlock certain aspects of the team; introducing, Perimeter Terror.

Perimeter Terror: Cole Anthony

Currently being slightly underrated being on a team without anyone else to share the offensive burden, Cole would give the Knicks offense a true floor spacer. He and RJ would hold a lion-share of the offensive burden in the starting line-ups, but the true threat is on the other end. Among the plethora of guards, Cole has one of the highest defensive upsides. He has good size and having the 1-3 rotation of Cole, Frank, and RJ can really give opposing perimeter players headaches.

The defense is always appreciated in the Garden and with those three around, few baskets will come easy. While Cole is not the best passer in the draft, Frank and Peters are plus passers who can make up for that. Cole provides value with or without the ball which makes him an ideal guard next to RJ.

Addressing the needs are giving RJ a running mate who fits well with him in theory.

Cole’s offense is designed for the NBA today and while some of his production in the paint is underwhelming he’s suffering from the current lack of space and how the college game doesn’t have as much space as the NBA game in general.

He would stand to benefit from that and RJ would attack in a much different way, abusing his strength and size to get to the hoop whenever he wants. Cole, in turn, would open it up more for RJ to attack along with the Pick and Role game with Mitch (Frank can run it as well).

In conclusion with a final minor thing but Anthony is familiar with what it takes to be in the NBA, and specifically, be a rookie coming into the Garden from his dad (Greg). The pressure is different from these young men (teenagers in some cases) are scrutinized on a national level. That is the good and the bad which has been bad for most of the past twenty years.

Being familiar with that and having his dad be there to mentor and help him be poised for the NBA and all the pressures that come with it. The future is impossible to predict, but assessing the needs and filling them dynamically can keep any team prepared no matter how bleak the past.

See Part II and III for our “unlocked” teams per the draft options that pair best with the team’s youth.

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