Let’s face it, the New York Knicks season has been yet (another) disaster. After numerous offseason acquisitions, many, including myself, figured the Knicks would make some noise this season fighting for a playoff spot.
Well with one of their free agents gone (Brandon Jennings), another out for the season (Joakim Noah) and one being a disappointing (Derrick Rose) it look as if the season has been well under the expectations. At 26-41 and 7 games back for the 8th seed in the East, the team still has a shot but in the long run but it seems unlikely.
That being said, what is next for the New York Knicks?
Develop the younger guys!
It is clear, Joakim Noah has not lived up to the expectations. He has not been the same since his Defensive Player of the Year days in 2014. While the Noah signing is looking like a complete bust so far it has given us the chance to see younger guys like Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn to get extended minutes as the season winds down.
Hernangomez is currently averaging 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Not bad for a guy who came into the season as the #3 center on the team. The 22-year-old has teamed up with Kristaps Porzingis in the past in their playing days overseas in Spain and now it looks to become a special frontcourt duo in the near future. Hernangomez already has the better offensive game than Noah. Giving him more time now will definitely help him improve his game.
I have always liked Kyle O’Quinn. He is a strong presence down low and can give you a solid night off the bench. He is looking to be the main big man backup for the rest of the season.
As for others, the Knicks let go of Brandon Jennings to bring in a younger prospect in Chasson Randle. Randle was very impressive in the Knicks summer league and looked to make the main roster opening night, but a facial injury brought him back to the minors to develop. In only three games, Randle has averaged 5.5 points a game but is playing around 15 minutes in those games. So far he has provided solid minutes running the triangle and might just play for an important rotation spot for next year.
Guards Ron Baker and Justin Holiday have also done well in their extended minutes. Baker has been given a recent run for the past couple of games. While the box score doesn’t show it (only 11.9 minutes and 3.3 points), Baker plays with grit that one wants to see in a young player. He has a high motor, diving for loose balls and can defend well. His shot could use some improvement, but his high motor still gives him the ability to be a rotation player.
Justin Holiday was looked as more of a filler in the Derrick Rose trade but has carved himself a nice role with New York. Once looked at as just the older brother of New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, Justin is starting to become regular rotation guy and who knows, maybe he can help recruit Jrue to New York (I can save that for another story).
Of course, there is Kristaps Porzingis, the future….literally. His is improving production since last year, it is hard to forget that not long ago fans booed him out of the Barclays Center when selected #4 in 2015. Porzingis can pretty much do everything on the court. The ceiling is very high for the Latvian superstar.
The season may not have turned out to what fans have hoped for. But looking at the positives we might find a few gems like Ron Baker and Willy Hernangomez for example to become key members of the Knicks for the next few seasons.
This might be some of the guys only chance to make a statement if they want to stay on the roster next year.