The New York Knicks have been the unfortunate laughing stock of the NBA over the last few years. Since 2013, the Knicks have yet to make the playoffs, the third longest playoff drought in the NBA right now behind only the Suns and the Kings.
In order to be competitive in a division with the Nets, Raptors, 76ers, and Celtics, the Knicks were desperate to make some good moves this offseason. Let’s explore some of their offseason acquisitions, shall we?
Good move #1: Knicks draft Obi Toppin 8th Overall
Even though the Knicks were loaded at power forward before the draft, the Knicks do the right thing and take best player available at pick eight. Toppin was the 2020 Naismith Player of the Year with Dayton. He was an unstoppable force in his sophomore season with the Flyers and most people had him as a sure fire top five pick. Toppin slid in the draft and New York got a gift.
Toppin is a versatile power forward embodies every attribute that you want from a modern NBA big man. He’s excellent in transition, loves to play in the pick and roll, and can even shoot the ball from deep. Although he mainly operated from the post in college, expect Toppin to be featured in high pick and roll and pick and pop action.
Toppin should be an offensive cornerstone moving forward. Great pick by New York.
Good move #2: Knicks add veteran depth
The Knicks lost some key roster pieces to free agency and needed to add some depth in order to maintain a bench presence in 2021.
The Knicks lost: Damyean Dotson, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Mo Harkless, Theo Pinson, Bobby Portis
Harkless, Payton, Portis, Ellington and Dotson all played significant minutes for the Knicks last season, so it’s essential that these minutes are being replaced by quality players.
Nerlens Noel was recently signed by New York to back up Mitchell Robinson at Center. Noel gives the Knicks interior defense and athleticism at the five position. Mitchell Robinson has struggled with foul trouble in his career, so acquiring a solid back up was critical.
Austin Rivers also signed with the Knicks this offseason, giving them some scoring and playmaking on their second unit. Rivers adds some consistent guard depth and should help fill the void of losing Dotson and Ellington.
The Knicks also added Alec Burks, the veteran scoring guard. Burks is an explosive scorer who can really provide some offense to a rather stagnant offense.
Good move #3: Knicks cash in with other draft picks
The Knicks didn’t stop their great draft with Obi Toppin. Later in the draft they added Kentucky guard, Immanuel Quickley and Minnesota center, Daniel Oturu. Quickley is a perfect compliment to the Knicks’ current back court starter, RJ Barrett.
Quickley can play off ball and excels as a secondary playmaker. He does a great job attacking the basket with speed, but his best offensive trait is undoubtedly his shooting. Quickley was one of the best shooters in the entire draft and immediately fills a need for New York. Last season, the Knicks averaged 9.6 threes made per game, which was dead last in the NBA. The Knicks add a consistent three point threat in the draft.
Leandro Bolmaro may not be an immediate impact player for the Knicks, but has the potential to be one of the steals of the draft. Bolmaro is a 6′ 6′ point guard from Argentina with excellent court vision and playmaking skills. Bolmaro would give the Knicks size and versatility to their backcourt. Having both Bolmaro and Barrett on the court at the same time would give the Knicks some serious playmaking and size.
Overall Grade: B/B+
The Knicks have recently been known for shooting for the stars, but falling flat on their face. But this offseason saw them making more patient, traditional rebuilding moves instead. The front office didn’t hit any home runs, but did a good job overall this offseason. That warrants them a grade of B/B+ in my books.
They didn’t land a big-time free agent and lost some good bench pieces, but they did a nice job replacing those players with young talent. They picked up the best player available in the draft and addressed some team needs by adding shooting and guard talent.
Despite the lack of ground-breaking moves, the Knicks clearly got better this offseason. But considering how good their division is, I doubt it makes them a playoff team. New York is a rebuilding franchise, so it will take at least a few years until the Knicks are competitive in the East.
Regardless of where they fall in the standings this year, New York should be proud of their moves this offseason which at least points them towards the right direction.
Get ready to see an improved Knicks franchise in 2021.