What Direction Are The Knicks Going?

Notable Players Acquired: PG Ramon Sessions (free agency), SG Tim Hardaway Jr. (free agency), F Michael Beasley (free agency), G Frank Ntilikina (draft)

Notable Players Lost: PG Derrick Rose (free agency)

Recapping 2016-17

The Knicks finished last season with a 31-51 record, 12th in the Eastern Conference.

The Derrick Rose trade and Joakim Noah signing didn’t quite end up the way New York would have liked. Rose averaged 18 points per game but shot just 21.7 percent from the 3-point line and Noah appeared in just 46 games.  

The talent on the roster wasn’t necessarily the problem for the Knicks, but instead how that talent fit together.

With all the drama from the season, there were some positives. Ron Baker, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hermangomez proved themselves as NBA role players. Kristaps Porzingis had a solid second season, averaging 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, although he did miss 16 games.

And despite being in the middle of most of the drama, Carmelo Anthony had another ho-hum season of averaging 22.4 points. Anthony has never averaged less than 20 points per game during a season in his career. That’s remarkable. Unfortunately, it hasn’t led to the playoffs since 2012-13.

The Big Question

Is New York building around Anthony or Porzingis? Porzingis, 22, is one of the best young talents in the NBA, but last offseason, the Knicks went the veteran route in acquiring Rose, Noah and Courtney Lee. That doesn’t quite match up with Porzingis’ prime window, which he’s probably four years away from yet. Scary to think of.

The Knicks don’t have Rose anymore, but they did add Hardaway Jr. and Ntilikina. With the trio of Baker, Hernangomez, Ntilikina, New York also has a solid core of youth. But with Anthony at 32, time is ticking for the Knicks to make it back to the playoffs with one of the best scorers in the league on their team. 

Timberwolves Connections

The Knicks signed former Wolves forward Michael Beasley this offseason. Beasley played in Minnesota from 2010-2012. In two seasons, he appeared in 120 games, starting 80, and averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Since playing for the Wolves, Beasley has played for Phoenix, Miami, Houston and Milwaukee.

Ratke’s Projection

New York finished 10 games out of the playoffs in 2016-17. In the team’s final 14 games, New York was just 4-10, so things could have definitely been closer.

The point-guard position is somewhat concerning with some sort of combination of Baker, Ntilikina and Sessions. Ntilikina was the was the eighth-overall pick, but he’s only 19. There’s plenty of room left for him to grow.

The good news for New York’s playoff outlook is that the East took a hit this offseason. The Pacers, Hawks and Bulls (all playoff teams last season) lost Paul George, Paul Millsap and Jimmy Butler, respectively, to the West. If New York can stay healthy (and that’s a big if), the Knicks should be able to sneak into the playoffs. 

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