Knicks: How Leon Rose can turn New York into a contender

NY Knicks, Leon Rose (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Knicks, Leon Rose (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Jan 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) and center Mitchell Robinson (23) against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Rose’s Plan Year 1 (2020-21 Season): Set the foundation

The Knicks approach this season is simple: develop young players and put a more competitive product on the court. Right now the team doesn’t have enough assets to trade for a star to put alongside Mitchell Robinson and R.J. Barrett. Also, neither has developed to the point that a star free agent would want to play with them.

While we don’t believe the Knicks are going to purposely tank, both Phil Jackson and Steve Mills were allowed one tank season. Phil used it in his first season, drafting Kristaps Porzingis (KP) 4th overall in 2015. Mills tanked in his second season after KP got hurt, which resulted in R.J. Barrett being selected with the 3rd pick in 2019 draft. If Rose is going to have a losing season, it has to be this one, especially since the 2021 draft is projected to be loaded with talent.

Even though the Knicks didn’t make any major moves in the offseason, it doesn’t mean they are done. I expect there will be a push for a disgruntled star. Victor Oladipo, for one, will be approaching free agency. James Harden and Bradley Beal might also be put on the trading block if their teams have disappointing seasons. Those are just a few names that quickly come to mind. So look for Leon Rose to take another swing for a star before the season is over.

But in order to do that he needs some of the young players to develop. Below is the list of players that need to be developed sorted by priority.

  1. R.J. Barrett – potential all-star
  2. Mitchell Robinson – potential all-star
  3. Obi Toppin – core player
  4. Kevin Knox – potential core player/trade asset
  5. Frank Ntilikina -potential core player/trade asset
  6. Dennis Smith Jr. (DSJ) – trade asset
  7. Immanuel Quickley – rotation player
  8. Ignas Brazdeikis – rotation player/trade asset