The New York Knicks have played much of the last month without key players, including missing multiple starters in most games. Even so, the Knicks are flying up the standings, demolishing most opponents and proving themselves clear winner of the NBA Trade Deadline even before it arrives, assuming they get to count the OG Anunoby trade.
The Knicks have a +5.8 net rating on the season, behind only the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. With the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers both sliding back after strong starts, the path ahead is clearing for them to make a run to the Eastern Conference Finals or even beyond.
The Knicks should try to make a run this season
Former Houston Rockets and current 76ers executive Daryl Morey has a saying that if you have a five percent chance of winning the championship in any given season you go "all-in" to take your shot. The Knicks may not be at that point yet, but they are getting close, especially when you factor in Joel Embiid's injury. They aren't scared of the Milwaukee Bucks and their tissue-paper perimeter defense, they aren't scared of the Cleveland Cavaliers team that they trounced in last year's playoffs, and they have never been scared of the Boston Celtics.
With that being said, the Knicks also still have their eyes on landing a superstar who can truly vault them into contention. They have an outside shot at making the NBA Finals this season; adding a Top-15 player would likely push them into the inner circle. Sacrificing that goal on the altar of a run this year doesn't make sense.
The middle-ground, therefore, is a deal where the Knicks add a player for this season without giving up their warchest of draft capital. Just such a deal might be possible with a team that knows a lot about winning titles, and it could be one that works out splendidly for both sides. Let's take a closer look and see whether the Knicks would pull the trigger.