Knicks Trending in Respectable Direction


Since 2000, The New York Knicks are 645-965. With only five playoff appearances under their belt in that period, the “Knicks” and “successful” are two words that are rarely used in the same sentence.

For New York’s standards, though, the Knicks did have a successful offseason. The definition of “successful” to New York and its fans is actively not overspending and trading assets for big-name players with dreadful contracts.

It seems that the Knicks now have some sort of clear path going forward.

After striking out last offseason with big names like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler, New York brought in new management whose main goal seemed to keep the organization grounded. Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau have been leading the Knicks this offseason with smart and risk-free moves.

Past Blunders

The Knicks’ biggest problem over the past 20 years has always been trying to make an immediate impact move rather than building through the draft, acquiring assets, and building a positive and winning culture. The most dramatic instance of this is when New York traded vital role players and draft picks for Carmelo Anthony and his expiring contract in 2011. Melo made it clear he would be looking at the Knicks as a possible suitor to sign with that offseason. Key players like Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and an abundance of picks were in the deal to bring Anthony to the Big Apple. Two of those draft picks became Jakob Poeltl and rising superstar Jamal Murray.

Current Successes

The NBA Draft

Reports were rumbling that the Knicks were willing to trade future assets to move up in the draft to select Dayton big man Obi Toppin. Luckily, Toppin slipped to No. 8, and the Knicks got their New York native without paying a hefty price. They also landed Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley with the 25th pick in the draft. Both are excellent prospects that are very promising for a successful Knicks future.

After the draft, New York signed undrafted Seton Hall guard Myles Powell to an Exhibit 10 contract. Another low-risk, potentially high-reward player was one of the best scorers in college. All three pickups from the Knicks’ draft day seem to be players with a high offensive motor and a potential defensive upside. Toppin has even been compared to players like Chris Bosh and Amar’e Stoudemire. New York fans hope that Toppin’s electrifying playstyle will help lighten the dark overcast shadowing Madison Square Garden for the past 20 years.

Not Overspending

Although All-Stars with massive contracts like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Paul George were gaining trade momentum, New York hasn’t entertained the idea of giving up assets to acquire big names. Even when it came to free agents like Fred VanVleet and Gordon Hayward, the Knicks didn’t offer them the big deal they were expected to. Instead, New York added veteran depth to their young roster, signing Alec Burks, Austin Rivers, Nerlens Noel, Elfrid Payton and Theo Pinson.

Building Assets

Once again, New York hasn’t sold their future to a team for a bad contract star player (so far); they have only built up assets through the trade market this offseason. New York decided to take on big man Ed Davis’ contract along with two future second-round picks from the Utah Jazz. They then swapped Davis to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Omari Spellman, Jacob Evans and a future second-round pick. The team took on three future second-round picks for the price of two small contracts.

More to Come?

New York may not have a crystal-clear plan going into this upcoming season, but there seems to be some plan formulating to create a winning basketball culture in the “Mecca” of basketball. Staying true to themselves, not selling their soul to other teams, and making low-risk, high-reward transactions that won’t blow up in their face.

With training camp right around the corner, keep an eye out to see what the Knicks do with their most-recent free agency blunder, Julius Randle. If they want Toppin to flourish in his role, Randle could possibly be traded before training camp. It would only make sense, as both players are offensively top-heavy power forwards who lack defensive upside. Only time will tell how New York approaches this situation.

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About Matt DeCeglie

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