As most of you already know, I am a huge Knicks fan that wrote 2 articles about their offseason. The first one came after they traded Kristaps Porzingis along with some other players who they previously signed to big contracts, to clear up cap space for what would be a loaded free agency class. It also put them in a spot to get the no. 1 draft pick. (https://www.bbbstraighttalksports.com/blog/the-knicks-future-bright). But after the Brooklyn Nets started to emerge as a rival to the Knicks for free agents and when they ended up with the 3rd pick in the draft lottery, I then concentrated on how important free agency will be for them (https://www.bbbstraighttalksports.com/blog/how-important-is-the-knicks-offseason-very-important). But then on June 30th, the Nets not only stole their 2 prime targets in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but have now emerged as the focus of New York basketball. The Knicks have now hit rock bottom, but the road back to the top may not take as long as some people may expect.
While they still missed out on the no. 1 pick Zion Williamson, they landed R.J. Barrett with the 3rd pick. Barrett who wanted to be a Knick, is arguably the most complete player in the draft and has the ability to flourish as a leader of this team for about a decade. He joins a group of players from last year's draft class that showed potential throughout last season. First rounder Kevin Knox has shown the ability to score in bunches and can be a lethal wingman in the future. Mitchell Robinson is a strong finisher and rebounder, but his shot blocking is his best skill as he may already be one of the best shot blockers in the game. Point/Shooting guard Alonzo Trier went from an undrafted player, to a potential 6th man off the bench. If this year's class of Barrett and fellow draftee Ignas Brazdeikis can succeed, New York will be enjoying lots of long term depth in the future. Another player who was a lottery pick even though he wasn't drafted by the team, is Dennis Smith Jr., who came in the trade for Porzingis. His athleticism is the centerpiece of his game, but his passing will be essential for the production of Robinson and Julius Randle, who was one of their biggest free agent signings.
Speaking of Randle, why don't we go into the Knicks' free agency. Overall, they didn't reach their goal of getting a marquee free agent, but that doesn't mean it was all bad. They were able to get Randle who has fully recovered from breaking his right tibia in his rookie season, and last season averaged a career high 21 points, while playing a career high 30 minutes. With his production improving, there's a strong possibility that Randle will enjoy his best years in New York. Along with Randle, comes a group of big men in Marcus Morris Sr., Taj Gibson, and Bobby Portis. They aren't the flashiest, but they're hard workers who are reliable players who can consistently put up double-doubles. They also signed Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock who bring three point shooting to the lineup. So there you go; a free agency that didn't go as planned, but one in which they brought in players who can excel on the court and at mentoring the younger players.
Many Knicks fans probably view this offseason as one of the most unsuccessful off seasons for any team in any sport. They have a right to think that, as they waited a long time for the draft lottery and free agency to happen, and they didn't get what they wanted. But that doesn't mean they didn't do any good things as well. They drafted a player in Barrett who has the ability to excel at being the no. 1 option in the future even if it may not be this year. Their free agency class featured a bunch of hard working players who will definitely help them win some games. This is really a team that can very much excel next season.