Well, its official, the Knicks have secured the worst record in the NBA and have the highest chance to land in the top 3 compared to most teams. It has been a long and miserable process but the Knicks Tank Plan has finished. Now I could explain how the Knicks got to this point, but I would rather skip all the misery and just stick to the resolution.
I’d rather plan ahead just in case the worst were to occur. All I have heard this season was that all of this losing is for a reason. There is a plan in place and the Knicks will be a playoff team in the near future. Constantly hearing that MSG is a destination for A-list free agents and the chances of the Knicks landing players like KD, Kyrie and Kawai Leonard is almost assured.
My big question for this piece is, what happens if we don’t land KD and Kyrie? All the talk from the management of the Knicks was constantly driven to make us fans believe that by July we will have both superstars in Knick uniforms. I have yet to hear of a possibility of what would we do if our prayers are not answered.
My heart and brain would tell me right out the gate to fire the entire staff and management of the Knicks and start over completely, but my rational side would think of a more logical approach. My issue is that the Knicks roster is devoid of all superstars and are in pure rebuild mode. The only problem with that scenario is that our young players do not seem to be any more developed than before Fizdale arrived in MSG.
So to help Knick fans think about the worst case scenario and plan ahead just in case our management fails us again, I have developed a few routes we could take to help us avoid this Knicks Nuclear Holocaust that could occur if the Knicks, much like the Phoenix Suns or the Bulls, stay at the bottom of the NBA for close to a decade without aquiring KD and Kyrie Irving.
In reality, all of these plans depend on where the Knicks land with the upcoming NBA lottery. This is important to the process because based on who we can select will change the type of players we go after in free agency. Now understand, each of these scenarios represent our plan if the Knicks do not land KD and Kyrie, so try to understand that if we can not land the big time A list players we would have to settle for B list. There are three different possibilities that change the route that I believe the Knicks should take. If the Knicks land with the first pick, if they land in picks 2-3, or if the Knicks fall to 4-5.
If we have the first pick in the draft, the easy part is we all know that we would draft Zion Williamson from Duke. He could possibly be a transcendent player or the very least a good starter to build a team around. I do not have to go into the details of why I would want Zion with the first pick because it is fairly obvious that he is the best player in College Basketball. He reminds me of a young Charles Barkley, short, strong, and incredibly athletic for his stature. With Zion on the team, it seems almost easy to assume he will be the Knicks starting small forward or power forward whichever he likes more. However, this still means the Knicks can focus on fixing the guard issue that is still evident on the team. My first choice would be to sign Kemba Walker to a 3-year deal.
I know what you are thinking, “We will overpay him”, I believe we probably would but Kemba would actually fit well in the team that is currently assembled. Having him and DSJ on the court together would be very tough to defend. The Knicks seem to like running the two guard system so this would fit perfectly. They should resign Herzonia and have Trier come off the bench. For more depth, the Knicks should retain Frank Ntilikina and push Dotson to progress in the offseason. If Zion is not playing small forward you could have Frank and Dotson on the court to aid in defense and energy to push the ball. Kevin Knox would most likely benefit more playing off the bench in the power forward/ small forward slot so that he could develop. I believe that Mitchell Robinson and Deandre Jordan would be perfect for the Knicks two centers. So scenario 1 would have, Walker, DSJ, Dotson/Ntilikina, Zion, Robinson as the starting 5 with the other players filtering in from the bench.
Having pick number one would be the most ideal, but there is still a good chance (30%) that the Knicks would land at 2 or 3. If the Knicks land at 2 I would select Ja Morant. Out of this entire draft class, there are only two “stars”. Zion and Ja Morant. This is not saying R.J Barret will not be a great player, but both Morant and Williamson were transcendent players that made their teammates better around them. They elevated the performance of the team and that’s what the Knicks need at the moment. At number 3, the Knicks should draft R. J Barret. For both of these selections, I believe the Knicks should follow the same process. They should target Al Horford from the Celtics. If Anthony Davis gets traded to the Celtics, which is highly rumored, they would be looking to lose Horford’s contract to help pay for AD. The Knicks could easily obtain one of the Celtics many picks to take on Horford’s contract. He is a good all-around player and would help the Knicks at Power Forward. Having Ja Morant and DSJ at the two guards, with Trier and Herzonia coming off the bench, they would have reliable big men to take care of the paint. Robinson and Jordan would be great at center, with Dotson and Frank playing small forward. Knox should be switching at both SF and PF. So for this scenario, the Knicks starting five would be Morant, DSJ, Dotson/Frank, Horford, Robinson. This would allow the Knicks to add a piece that would help the team overall and not break the bank on any superstar.
The worst case scenario which I would like to call Doomsday, where the Knicks are given the 4th or 5th pick in the draft without KD or Kyrie to ease the pain. This would be the absolute toughest scenario to survive, but it is possible to avoid the Nuclear Holocaust I had mentioned before. With the pick, the Knicks are given, you could select the best remaining guard available. This could be used as a starter or someone to add depth. The Knicks management should also attempt to make a deal with the Wizards that would obtain 3-4 first round picks if the Knicks take on John Walls contract. I know what most of you are thinking, I have lost all credibility and whatever I say next would not matter, well please bear with me. If the Knicks made the deal and take on John Wall’s contract and obtain many assets, they could use every asset they obtained through the trades they have completed this current season and shop for Anthony Davis.
If the Knicks can be assured that AD would resign with the Knicks, I would 100% go for that trade. Having AD on the Knicks is worth having to deal with John Wall in the locker room. Having AD on the Knicks would assure the Knicks spot as a good team and create a path for future stars to want to come to New York. The Pelicans would be foolish to pass on this offer. They would obtain 5-6 first round draft picks to a superstar that does not want to be on their team anymore.
I think whoever we draft would be a role player to come off the bench at the guard spot and we would most likely move on from Herzonia and Mudiay. If Kevin Knox is not used in the trade with AD he could rotate in at both SF and PF. Your starting 5 would be Wall, DSJ, Dotson/Frank, AD, and Robinson. This way we would have a solid defensive unit and a well-groomed group to come off the bench.
People need to understand that if Doomsday occurs, all three of these scenarios would be a long process and the Knicks would not win right away. The management of the Knicks had promised us KD and Kyrie to be on our team by July and if they fail on their guarantee then, unfortunately, us Knick fans must deal with the misery and find a way to push passed it. The truth is the Knicks still have a chance to save themselves from a Nuclear Holocaust. This is only possible if the management can draft and develop their young players and acquire players that will fill the holes of the team and push the players that remain forward. I am not saying that you should start buying your hazmat suit, but at least be prepared to plan our future inside our war bunker.