New York Knicks: Five early, defensive-minded free agents to target

New York Knicks (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
1 of 5
new york knicks
New York Knicks David Fizdale (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

With New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale’s desire for more inside and perimeter defenders, who are potential targets for them this summer that are not top free agents?

The New York Knicks have struggled throughout this 2018-19 campaign to perform well defensively. They allow 114.4 points per game, which sits 25th in the NBA. Teams also shoot 47.1 percent against them.

Head coach David Fizdale, aware of this, told the New York Post he needs different players inside and on the perimeter to fit the defense in 2019-20. Over $70 million in cap space should make this happen, as the Knicks could become the offseason’s biggest spender.

The biggest names are there, including Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. Both have defensive acumen. Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler are held in some regard, as well.

However, there are other free agents that go beyond those four who can impact the other side of the court. Which five defensive-talented players can they pursue?

5. Malcolm Brogdon (RFA)

Malcolm Brogdon took his two-way skills from Virginia to Milwaukee and continued to grow in three seasons. First, as the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2016-17, and with numbers that only improved from there in an expanding role.

Before suffering a late-season injury, Brogdon’s 2018-19 campaign was special. With 50.5 percent shooting, 42.6 percent on three-pointers and a stellar 92.8 percent on free throws, it showcased remarkable efficiency from the 26 year old, who brought this on the NBA’s best record.

How good was the former Cavalier defensively, though? Per NBA Advanced Stats, he ranked eighth in defensive win shares with 0.145. He also delivered a 101.6 defensive rating.

With this and a 6-foot-11 wingspan as a 6-foot-5 guard, Brogdon would take this to the New York Knicks backcourt and upgrade it immediately. That represents an upgrade over Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier, but signing this player has a significant roadblock.

Brogdon will become a restricted free agent, and the Bucks can match any offer sheet he signs this summer. That puts the Knicks and any other interested team at a disadvantage, especially if Milwaukee loses Khris Middleton and gains desperation to retain the rest of this team.