Another one bites the dust for New York Knicks fans as their hopes of acquiring yet another star have been crushed in a cycle of hope followed by disappointment. This offseason alone, Knicks fans have seen two All-Star guards escape their grip as both Dejounte Murray and Donovan Mitchell left their rebuilding franchises and were acquired by rival Eastern Conference teams.
However, not all has gone wrong for the Knicks. After all, this is a team only one year removed from a playoff berth and the current starters all have the potential to do something spectacular this season. Yes, ALL of the team’s current starters. Let’s take a look at what each position has to offer.
What does the Knicks’ starting lineup have to offer in 2022-23?
Starting at the point guard position is something fresh and new for the Knicks organization — an actual point guard. Jalen Brunson proved himself to be one of the league’s breakout performers in last year’s playoffs after having what was already a breakout season for him as he increased his scoring from 12 points to 16 points per game.
The guard out of Villanova comes on the team as New York’s primary ball handler and shot creator, getting good looks not just for himself off the dribble but also for his teammates. Knicks fans that watched his performance with the Mavericks in the playoffs took note of his scrappy defense and his great ability to get inside and make a kick out to a teammate waiting in the corner off the drive. New York has a real chance of flourishing under the leadership of Jalen Brunson.
At the shooting guard position, fans could and should be excited about the potential of Quentin Grimes taking a leap in his sophomore season. Grimes’ skillset is that of a prototypical 3-and-D wing. He is the type of guard that can impact the game with or without the ball and can guard the primary or secondary ball handler on the other team. Evan Fournier could fit well as a long-range weapon off the bench for the team.
At the small forward position is none other than RJ Barrett. For Barrett, the only thing fans should be hoping for is an All-Star Game appearance. Barrett’s scoring numbers have been steadily climbing from season to season by three points. He went from 14 to 17 to 20 points per game in each of his first three seasons, respectively.
If fans are to believe this trend for RJ Barrett will continue in his fourth season, then they could expect RJ to become one of the league’s premier scorers. If New York’s season is going to be a bright one, Barrett needs to be the one leading the way on both ends of the floor.
At the power forward position, we have Julius Randle. Each of the past three seasons for Julius Randle have been the definition of up and down years. Fans of the franchise are either thanking him for one of the most successful Knicks seasons in recent history, or they are calling him a cancer to the franchise that is holding the team back from success.
Either way, I think that Randle can reasonably be expected to have at the very least a year in between the production he had this past season and the season before that. Even with the polarizing season that Randle had this past year, there is no denying that his skill set is unique. He is a walking double-double who can also dish out five assists per game. On top of his nightly stat-stuffing, Randle could very well stretch the floor and show off his sharpshooting capabilities.
Finally, at the center position, we have Mitchell Robinson. He is probably the only starter that Knicks fans shouldn’t be expecting a large leap from. Not because he isn’t capable of doing so (he most certainly has the ability), but because he really doesn’t need to. Robinson should continue to be the solid defensive anchor and glass cleaner he has been for the Knicks and with that, he would be doing more than enough to fulfill his role on the squad.
Yes, the Knicks missed out on Donovan Mitchell, Dejounte Murray, and even Tyrese Haliburton. Yes, it hurts that we don’t have these bright new stars to go forward with, but that doesn’t mean that the players on the current roster can’t grow into what fans are looking for.