New York Knicks: Five narratives that have defined 2019-20 so far

New York Knicks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

2. Disappointing free agency takes another downfall

Big names like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard were supposed to join the New York Knicks in free agency. That was assumed from the start of the 2018-19 season and after owner James Dolan spoke too big of a game.

The Plan B was a Julius Randle and Marcus Morris-led group of seven signings. Nothing spectacular about anyone from the laundry list of players, but they were either solid veterans or players like Randle who had a very good run the year prior.

Those pieces could have looked better as a supporting cast to star players. As seen through 17 games, they are not the main pieces to push a team towards the postseason, let alone maintaining competitiveness in the Eastern Conference.

Morris’ 19.3 points overrule the scoring list right now. His 51 percent three-point shooting is terrific, as well, but unsustainable, given he has never shot above 40 percent from behind the arc in his career. Just 36.2 percent on two-pointers is nothing to applaud, either.

Randle has been a disappointment at both ends of the court, as that sky-high field goal percentage for over 20 points per game with the Pelicans disappeared. Instead, his slash line of .444/.262/.613 is terrible across the board, not discluding his team-high 3.5 turnovers per game.

Taj Gibson has actually been a welcomed piece in the frontcourt, providing about the expected production as a role player: 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds, along with being a mentor to Mitchell Robinson.

After them, Elfrid Payton has only played in four games due to injury and won’t have a secured job upon return; Wayne Ellington has bounced between the rotation and Fizdale’s doghouse; Bobby Portis is barely making over 40 percent of his shots; and Reggie Bullock remains out with an injury and has no clear-cut role upon return.

These signings were already deemed questionable in July, and if the Knicks expected a postseason ride with them, that creates a different discussion.