Training camps around the NBA opened on Tuesday as we all turn into the final chapter of an unprecedented and grueling year.
The Knicks made several moves in an effort to improve on their pandemic-shortened 21-45 record.
- Added Alec Burks, Jacob Evans, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nerlens Noel, Austin Rivers, and Omari Spellman.
- After waiving Elfrid Payton, the Knicks and the Louisiana-Lafayette Hall of Famer agreed to a new contract. Payton agreed to a pay cut to remain in New York. They also re-signed Theo Pinson after waiving him.
- The Knicks parted ways with Damyean Dotson, who is now a Cleveland Cavalier, Maurice Harkless, who is now a Miami Heat, Bobby Portis, who is now a Milwaukee Buck, and Kenny Wooten, who is now a Houston Rocket.
- The Knicks also parted ways with Wayne Ellington and Taj Gibson, who remain free agents.
- This all comes after drafting Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. The Knicks also landed undrafted free agent Myles Powell.
Simply put, the Knicks disappointed in free agency again.
The biggest head-scratcher is the addition of Rivers and the re-signing of Payton. Last season, Knicks fans became frustrated and disgruntled with the number of minutes Payton was getting last year, stunting the growth of Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith, Jr. Now, the Knicks add Austin Rivers into the rotation and it becomes, even more, log-jammed.
This is a sign that the Knicks are not confident with what they have in their young point guards, and that certainly does not help their confidence.
The other disappointment is Julius Randle’s contract is still on the Knicks’ payroll. New York was unable to find a trade partner who would be willing to take in Randle’s contract this offseason. Die-hard Knicks fans would agree that Randle did not live up to the contract the Knicks gave him and it seems other teams agree.
Now, what will the Knicks do at power forward (again)? They still have Randle’s ludicrous contract and have drafted a player at the same position in Toppin.
Anyone with a pulse and an ounce of basketball knowledge would agree the Knicks’ lineup should be young, so they can develop.
How can a player develop if they are on the bench?
With that said, my dream lineup would be:
- PG: Austin Rivers
- SG: Frank Ntilikina
- SF: RJ Barrett
- PF: Obi Toppin
- C: Mitchell Robinson
After seeing how the franchise has a history of mishandled young players they’ve drafted, it would not surprise me if the Knicks put out this lineup:
- PG: Elfrid Payton
- SG: Austin Rivers
- SF: RJ Barrett
- PF: Julius Randle
- C: Nerlens Noel
No matter what five players Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau puts on the floor, Leon Rose and his staff haven’t done him any favors with the talent on this roster.
The Knicks are playing for the lottery once again, Knicks fans. They’re putting all their chips in for Oklahoma State’s 6’7”, 215 lbs freshman point guard Cade Cunningham, who is topping all the way-too-early 2021 mock drafts, which experts claim is loaded.
The Knicks’ first preseason game will be a road game on Dec. 11 against the Detroit Pistons, their first action since their 136-131 OT win on March 11 at the Atlanta Hawks.
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