The New York Knicks’ season came to an end after falling in six games to the Miami Heat. Despite the tough ending, it concludes their most successful season in a decade as they won 47 games and made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
With most of the team’s roster signed through next year, there likely won’t be any major free-agent splashes. With that being said, there are still avenues to upgrade the roster that Team President Leon Rose will explore in July.
One of the reasons why New York’s postseason run came to an end was inexperience. Six of the team’s nine rotation players are 25 and under, which showed against the veteran-laden Heat roster.
Adding some cheap battle-tested help could provide extra depth while simultaneously doubling as a calming presence in high-intensity playoff atmospheres. Some possible additions also have ties to head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Ranking 4 free agents targets that previously played for Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau
4: Josh Okogie
The veteran Phoenix Suns shooting guard was originally picked by Tom Thibodeau in the 2018 NBA Draft, back when he served as coach and president of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Okogie’s per-game averages of 7.3 points and 3.5 rebounds on 39-34-72 shooting splits don’t jump off the stat sheet, but his impact goes beyond the raw numbers. Perimeter defense is his calling card, which is something the Knicks need after allowing the fourth-most three-point attempts per game this season.
There’s also hope that a consistent role could help Okogie become more efficient as a scorer. In his 26 starts this year, he averaged 10.7 points per game and shot an even 36% from behind the arc. While he wouldn’t be a starter in New York, a locked-in rotation spot could help him find his shot.
Thibodeau is obviously fond of Okogie dating back to his Minnesota days, as he put him in the starting lineup as a rookie in just the third game of his career due to a Jimmy Butler injury. He started a total of 10 contests in the first few months of the 2018-19 season before Thibodeau was fired in early January.
At just 24 years old, he still hasn’t hit the prime years of his career and wouldn’t command a high salary given his below-average efficiency. He would be an ideal buy-low pickup for the Knicks and could outplay his value quickly.