Knicks Offseason: Efficient and Underrated

Apr 3, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) watch play between the Knicks and Pacers from the bench during first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) watch play between the Knicks and Pacers from the bench during first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

A look at the New York Knicks’ offseason moves and how that shapes them up for the upcoming NBA season.

Since the arrival of Phil Jackson, fans have been awaiting a quick turnaround and return to relevance. That was supposed to happen quickly, but there have been some growing pains to say the least. This offseason finally feels like that turning point, at least to me.

Though I do not expect us to be in contention for the championship (mostly due to the powerhouses in Cleveland and Golden State), I feel like New York ise finally on the path to becoming something consistent and relevant.

Let’s take a look at the offseason as a whole and go over how things went.

This offseason began with the trade for Derrick Rose. It’s a risky move, no doubt. But after looking at how things went down in Free Agency, I’m more and more glad New York took the risk. There weren’t a ton of great point guards out there and while the trade for Rose does certainly come with some concern, who would you really have rather had?

Mike Conley was the best free agent of this class. He’s also injury-prone and signed for five years and $153 million. Would you really have wanted the Knicks to be on the hook for that? That’s the type of contract that can cripple a team for years.

He’s good, but not that good.

Rajon Rondo got two years and $30 million. More friendly than Conley’s deal, but Rondo’s game has some fatal flaws and he’s also been known to be a troublesome player to have on your roster. Aside from those two, there really wasn’t anyone who would have made the Knicks much better at the position.

Rose has the potential to be better than either of those guys, and if he isn’t, there is next to no risk. Simply cut him and free up room for next year’s free agent class of point guards, which includes Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry. Oh, and by the way Westbrook is almost assured to leave Oklahoma City now that Kevin Durant left town, so our options are looking even better in that regard.

The other “big name” New York picked up was Joakim Noah. Like Rose, he also has some injury concerns, but could be a great pick-up if he can remain healthy. The only guy I would have liked as an alternative would’ve been Hassan Whiteside, but he seemed committed to staying in Miami; though he may now regret that move with Dwayne Wade leaving for the Bulls.

Noah wasn’t a bad addition, though. He’s a pass-first guy, which will help given that New York already has three prominent scorers in Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Rose. He’s also a tough, grind-it-out player which I think is both needed on a great team, as well as someone Knicks fans will love.

Also, with all of the crazy money being thrown around with the new salary cap, his four-year, $72 million deal wasn’t that bad.

Another great addition was Courtney Lee. Lee isn’t the biggest name out there, but he’s a solid, reliable guy who puts in work. His game perfectly fits with his strengths of playing defense and shooting threes—something the Knicks could really use.

He’s not a ball-dominant guard like Rose, so he should perfectly fill out our starting roster and complement the other guys nicely.

The Knicks also landed free agent point guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings is a big name and someone who almost was a Knick once before. The Knicks passed on Jennings in the 2009 NBA Draft, instead selecting Jordan Hill.

This could be a really underrated and valuable signing. For his career, Jennings is averaging 15.5 points, 5.9 assists, and 3.1 rebounds. He too has been recently bitten by the injury bug, but signing him only took a one-year “prove it” deal, and he should be hungry to get back to being a star-caliber player.

This could be a great addition when all is said and done.

New York was also able to re-sign fan favorite Lance Thomas, as well as buy out the rights for overseas player, and former Porzingis teammate, Willy Hernangomez. Again, not earth-shattering moves, but they are pieces.

These pieces are starting to add up.

The Knicks’ front office needs to be given some credit. In an offseason where teams largely overspent, the Knicks did not. They took some chances, but for the most part, they were low-risk, high reward moves.

New York is going to be an improved team and it didn’t break the bank or handicap its future to do so.

In a perfect world, Rose returns to form and Porzingis keeps ascending. Anthony continues to grow his overall game and his scoring goes back up with some of the pressure off. Noah stays healthy and is our rock both on and off the court.

Brandon Jennings has a big bounce back season and is a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and the rest of the guys simply do what they are supposed to do. The Knicks could be a high-seed in the East and go as far as the Eastern Conference Finals.

It’s not likely that Rose, Noah and Jennings will all stay injury-free. But by that same account, they’re not all going to be injured. It’s a hit or miss strategy, and some of these guys will hit. Hopefully the medical staff can keep them healthy enough to win and get in the playoffs relatively healthy.

If so, New York could be a very dangerous team.

The landscape of the NBA has shifted with the two powerhouses in Golden State and Cleveland. It would be unrealistic to expect the Knicks to be title contenders next season, regardless of what they did. What they did though, was about the best they could do.

must read: Phil Jackson told Brandon Jennings to win Sixth Man of the Year

New York is going to be a good team, and being a good team is the first step to becoming a great team.