The New York Knicks had hopes of landing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this summer. Instead, they ended up with Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton, among others.
Not exactly the dream offseason that the Knicks were hoping for.
Obviously, that stings, especially considering Durant and Irving signed with the instate rival Brooklyn Nets, but there comes a point where you just have to move on and play basketball, and that is what New York is going to have to do heading into the 2019-2010 campaign.
There are a ton of question marks surrounding the Knicks going into this season, but for now, let’s just focus on the four burning questions New York is facing ahead of training camp.
4. How Much Rope does David Fizdale Have?
David Fizdale is entering what is just his second season as head coach of the Knicks, and the first one did not go well, as he won just 17 games and had some locker-room issues to deal with.
It’s clear that New York is not going to contend for anything other than another high draft pick this coming season, but the Knicks are surely hoping to show some progression.
But what if that doesn’t happen? What if New York isn’t any better than this past year? At that point, how safe would Fizdale’s job be?
Personally, I think Fizdale is good for through the end of 2020-21 regardless of what happens this year, and the good news for him is that this Knicks regime seems more patient than previous ones.
That being said, this is New York, and the Knicks are absolutely starving for success. As a result, you have to wonder how hot Fizdale’s seat will get if New York comes out and wins 17 games again.
3. Do the Knicks Have a Point Guard?
Right now, Dennis Smith Jr., Payton and Frank Ntilikina are listed as the three point guards on the Knicks’ depth chart.
The problem with that is that a legitimate argument can be made that neither Smith nor Ntilikina are point guards, and Payton may be running out of chances to even stay in the league.
Basically, the Knicks have a major issue at the point guard position, which is a problem they have had for years running.
Heck, all three of Smith, Payton and Ntilikina are injury-prone to boot, so we don’t even know if these three guys are going to make it through the season healthy.
I understand New York is in rebuilding mode, so the organization is really just testing things out right now, but I’m not sure the Knicks even have a semblance of an idea of what they are doing at point guard.
2. Is Julius Randle Ready to be a Top Option?
Julius Randle is one of those guys who puts up big numbers but doesn’t really have a huge impact on the team.
He averaged a double-double in his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2015-16, but shot just 42.9 percent from the floor. He posted 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game with the New Orleans Pelicans this past year, but no one seemed to care because the Pelicans were so terrible.
There is no doubt that Randle has talent, but his shoddy defense and questionable shot selection have not exactly made him a popular player in the NBA, especially in today’s game where defensive versatility and efficiency are king.
So, is Randle ready to be a top option in New York?
Let’s be real here for a second: Randle can’t be the No. 1 guy on a contending team. That much we know. But can he work his way into at least being one of the main players on a legitimate squad?
It’s tough when you’re constantly on bad teams, but now that Randle is in the Big Apple and will probably be the Knicks’ go-to guy, the microscope will be on him like never before.
1. Are there Trades Coming?
The Knicks have a lot of pieces on their roster, some of which don’t fit.
They have a million wings in R.J. Barrett, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock. They have a cluster of 4 and 5 hybrids in Randle, Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson.
I already mentioned all of the pseudo-point guards on their roster.
I find it hard to believe that New York will make it through this season with this roster intact, as it seems like the Knicks are running trial and error to see who can earn their keep.
Veterans such as Morris and Gibson seem like deadline trade bait, especially Morris, who is on a one-year deal. There is also no way the Knicks keep all of those shooting guards.
Chances are, New York will do some wheeling and dealing between now and February.