New York Knicks: Five lineups we want to see in 2019-20

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3. Defense first

Defense was a task for the New York Knicks in 2018-19. They lost 65 games for more than just one reason, but ineffectiveness at the opposite side of the court hurt them. Finding a cohesive group to cover players became a struggle, as well.

In 2019-20, the Knicks can put together a superior group to anything possible from last season’s team and see how they work in situational play, potentially leading to a few more wins:

  • Elfrid Payton – Payton tops Smith defensively, which can also help in late-game situations when the Knicks need to stop a possession.
  • Frank Ntilikina – Ntilikina works his way into a lineup after a promising FIBA World Cup. Playing him off the ball raises questions if he can shoot enough, and if he can, he will make that defensive play, which is arguably the New York’s best, stand out.
  • Marcus Morris – Morris is the ideal player for this defense-first lineup. He impacts both sides of the court and will take minutes.
  • Taj Gibson – Gibson is a role player for this Knicks team, with part of that coming to fruition in these hard-nosed lineups. He represents an upgrade over Randle.
  • Mitchell Robinson – Robinson’s shot-blocking prowess makes him an automatic fit for any defense-first lineup Fizdale uses.