The NY Knicks need a new defensive stopper now that Reggie Bullock is on the Dallas Mavericks.
The 2020-21 season saw the Knicks become an elite defensive unit after being on the lower end of the defensive spectrum for the past ten million years.
It is no secret that this is heavily due to Tom Thibodeau. The 2021 Coach of the Year used his team’s defensive schemes to turn the Knicks into a nightmare for isolation offenses.
Thibs made players like Julius Randle and RJ Barrett into plus defenders last season; after their first season in New York, they were a lot less helpful on that end.
Reggie Bullock came together as much as any Knick did, and he would be the guy guarding the best wing/guard on opposing teams.
Who should be the NY Knicks’ defensive stopper?
Bullock, as we know, signed with the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks lost their stopper and replaced him with Evan Fournier for his offensive capabilities.
This is where I would say that Frank Ntilikina, the coolest person alive and an incredibly talented defender, would come in hand.
Unfortunately, he joined Bullock and other former Knicks teammates Tim Hardaway Jr, Trey Burke, and the Latvian that shall not be named in Dallas.
Here’s the deal: Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson are a starting 5 of guys who are at least passable defenders, but none look as if they have elite one-on-one defending abilities.
Robinson is undoubtedly the best defender in the lineup for his incredible shot-blocking and rim protection. Still, he currently cannot defend on the ball too well, and probably never will.
That is completely fine, and he doesn’t have to, though if he learns, he will become a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
There are players in this league who are good enough in the isolation that they will figure out how to get some iso ball against the Knicks.
The question that lies though, is who will become Thibodeau’s new stopper to make isolation players endure a living nightmare?
Let’s take a look at the three best/most likely options.