The New York Knicks' eventful offseason seems to be done for now. A Donovan Mitchell trade seemed to be happening but talks between them and the Jazz have slowed down. Regardless of whether the All-Star guard is on the Knicks by the time the season rolls around, New York has to improve in the 2022-23 season.
New York needs to have a good season after going through an awful 2021-22 season. All the good mojo after their first playoff appearance following a seven-year drought peaked in their first game and went all downhill after that. With Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein joining the team and a Mitchell trade looking like a possibility, they could be an improved squad this season.
Assuming the Knicks' current roster is the one they go into the season with, let's break out three bold predictions for the ‘Bockers in the 2022-23 NBA season.
Knicks 2022-23 Predictions
3. The Knicks trade for Donovan Mitchell during the season
The Jazz may decide to make the rest of these predictions much harder to come to fruition after running Mitchell out with the assortment of players they obtained this offseason. Ultimately, the Knicks should be able to strike a deal for the star, even though it might take longer than expected.
Utah is about to start rebuilding and needs draft picks to do so. The Knicks have eight eligible first-rounders to trade, as well as a number of second-round picks, one of which is Utah's own 2024 second-rounder. They also have a ton of solid young players like Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes, too.
Just how many assets the Knicks would send to Utah remains to be seen. New York could really use a young star like Mitchell and should continue negotiating. Not many other teams looking to be competitive this season have the draft picks that the Knicks do, so the Jazz would be wise to seek a trade with them as well.
For more reasons than just Mitchell being a New York native, a trade sending him to the Knicks makes total sense. Trade discussions slowing down might mean that the trade goes down during the season.
2. RJ Barrett makes the All-Star Game
Barrett has flashed All-Star potential throughout the last two seasons. He played great defense while scoring efficiently in the 2020-21 season while averaging 20.0 points per game last season.
With the addition of Brunson, Barrett should be able to bump his efficiency up. Although Brunson will also take the ball out of his hands, Barrett should be able to do more with his chances now that he has a real point guard and presumably takes another step forward. Making an All-Star team while shooting 40.8 percent from the field is tough to do, so Barrett will have to bump his overall efficiency back up.
Defensively, Barrett wasn't as stout last season as he was in the prior campaign. Perhaps an increased offensive workload is to blame for him taking a step back. If he can balance scoring at a high rate while bumping his defense back up, he should certainly see his name in All-Star conversations.
Barrett still has to make some improvements to make the All-Star Game. He has shown to have the abilities, but not all at the same time and for a prolonged period of time. It may just be as an injury replacement but Barrett still has what it takes to contend for a spot in the All-Star Game.
1. Jalen Brunson leads the team in scoring
The Knicks' best candidates for leading scorer are Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and Brunson. While the first two both averaged 20 points last season, Brunson should be able to approach that mark after averaging 16.3 points per game last season.
Brunson will undoubtedly be a big part of the Knicks' offense. He was brought in to facilitate and score the ball. When he isn't getting into the paint or hitting pull-up shots, he can float around the perimeter to be a catch-and-shoot threat. Because he can be dangerous in so many ways, he has a strong chance to be the team's leading scorer.
Even though his role will be to set up his teammates, Brunson has also shown to be a very efficient scorer. He may be able to outscore Randle and Barrett by a little bit. With each of them likely hovering around 18 to 2o points per game, Brunson could be the leading scorer by less than 0.5 points. He may not feel like the leading scorer because of his passing role but it may end up happening.
Brunson is out to prove that he isn't overpaid and that he made a wise decision to leave Luka Doncic and the Mavs. Even if he doesn't end up leading the team in scoring, he should have a strong impact on the Knicks.