1. Defensive Potential
Nothing will matter more in 2018-19 than creating a defensive-minded culture. The New York Knicks have been abhorrent on that end of the floor for far too long, and have hired too many coaches with empty promises of fixing that flaw.
Isaiah Hicks may not win Defensive Player of the Year in 2018-19, but he can help New York make the transition to a defensive mentality.
Standing at 6’9″ and 242 pounds with a 7’1″ wingspan, Hicks is a player who can be slotted in at either the 4 or the 5. He has the physical tools to block a fair number of shots—see: 2.0 blocks per game in the G League, and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes during his college career.
At the very least, that suggests he can help Kristaps Porzingis protect the rim—an at least employable trait for an up-and-coming big man.
The big question moving forward is whether or not Hicks will be able to defend stretch bigs and the pick and roll. If he proves capable of doing so, he could become one of the most valuable defensive players on the roster.
It can’t be stressed enough that Hicks is an unestablished player who’s more like clay than a statue to marvel, but that’s something the Knicks should appreciate.
The question is: Will Isaiah Hicks receive the opportunity to prove himself with the New York Knicks in 2018-19?