Fred VanVleet would bring offensive playmaking, defensive intensity, and championship experience that the New York Knicks desperately need.
As the New York Knicks find themselves in yet another lost season, they can begin to turn their attention towards the offseason. New president Leon Rose has draft picks and cap space to work with, so you can expect quite a few new faces on the team next season.
The 2020 free agency class isn’t as star-studded as last summer, but there are plenty of quality players available. One of whom is Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet.
VanVleet is having a career year. Currently averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game, he’s become a prominent part of the Raptors’ success.
The Knicks have had a point guard logjam problem all season with Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr. competing for minutes. On top of the already rostered point guards, many expect the Knicks to target a guard in the draft as well.
So why would VanVleet be a good fit for the Knicks?
He’s An Unselfish Player
What makes VanVleet so valuable to the Raptors is that he is effective with and without the ball. He can efficiently run the offense as the team’s point guard, but he can also be an efficient shooter away from the ball.
VanVleet is shooting 43.9% from three on catch-and-shoots this season. Not one of Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Elfrid Payton, Dennis Smith Jr., or Kevin Knox has a catch and shoot three-point percentage over 34%.
VanVleet may profile as a point guard, but he’s started at the 2 all season for the Raptors while Kyle Lowry has started at point. Bottom line: VanVleet is a versatile offensive weapon.
He’s An Elite Defender
Fred VanVleet really burst onto the scene in last season’s NBA Finals, where he was put on an island to guard Stephen Curry. Man, did he give Chef Curry trouble.
His defense has taken yet another step forward this season. VanVleet has firmly established himself as one of the peskiest defenders in the entire NBA. He leads the league in deflections per game and is 4th in steals per game at 1.9.
Conclusion: He’s Exactly What The Knicks Need
Fred VanVleet has scratched and clawed his way to being a star-caliber NBA player. At just 6’0″ tall, VanVleet went from being undrafted to becoming a starter on one of the best teams in the NBA.
VanVleet’s ability to guard the opponent’s starting point guard would take a tremendous amount of pressure off of the young guys like Frank Ntilikina and R.J. Barrett, allowing them to have easier defensive assignments.
His scoring ability and unselfish play would instantly improve the offense without taking too many possessions away from the younger players. He will improve the team without stunting anyone’s development.
At just 26 years old, VanVleet can bring the championship experience and grit that this New York Knicks team needs.