By: Kento Kato
The Knicks have been the laughing stock of the NBA for the majority of the last decade now. They have made the playoffs just five times since the 2000 season and have been known to hand out bad contracts, trade away draft picks, and put together a bad product for the high paying fans of the Big Apple. This offseason, the Knicks, once again, went after some big names who have had injury problems in the past. The only difference is, they got them for a pretty good deal.
The Knicks are gambling on Derrick Rose but he is only on a one-year deal and they only had to give up Jose Calderon and a somewhat overpaid Robin Lopez. Yes, Rose is not the player he once was and there is no guarantee that he played even 60 games. That being said, he is two years removed from his last knee surgery, and that it usually how long it takes for people to feel like themselves again. You can even see in his numbers that he is knocking off the rust and feeling better both physically and mentally. During February, he averaged 21.9ppg, 6apg, and 5.6rpg and while his stats dropped off a bit afterwards, he still maintained efficiency. In March, he shot %46.1 from the field and shot %40.5 from the three, which is great to see considering he is a career %30.4 shooter from beyond the arc. All of those signs, combined with a determined Derrick Rose in a contract year could be great for the Knicks. Even if he is not able to replicate his success from the second half of the season, the Knicks will be able to move on next year.
Joakim Noah may be what the Knicks needed and he could be what they don’t need. He is one of the best fits for the triangle because of his ability to pass the ball and he will be a great defender when healthy. But he also came with a hefty price tag of $72 million over 4 years. He is already 31 so this contract may become a regret towards the latter half of it regardless of how he plays. The Knicks were also able to reel away Courtney Lee from other teams. He is a signing that I believe could be key and help push the Knicks to the next level. With very solid shooting and defense, he will be able to impact games without holding on to the ball. Pair him with Lance Thomas, who resigned with the Knicks for a discounted price, will allow the Knicks to be pretty versatile with some of their defensive assignments.
In my eyes though, the biggest question mark will be Brandon Jennings. Almost drafted by the Knicks, the former Oak Hill star comes to the city that never sleeps on a very team-friendly $5 million contract. While he is coming off of an Achilles injury from to years ago, this is another case of a player who will be determined to prove his worth and may finally be returning to form. Much like Rose, if it does not work out between Jennings and the Knicks, they can easily part ways next summer.
The new additions of Rose, Noah, Lee, and Jennings with Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Lance Thomas and Kyle O’Quinn will give them a solid 7-man rotation. The big question for the team, besides the health, will be the depth. With unknowns like Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Marshall Plumlee, Willy Hernangomez, and Maurice Ndour filling out the rest of the roster, there are doubts about what the team will do if there are injuries. All of this will be left to new coach, Jeff Hornacek. But with his up-tempo play, improved defense, and possible surprises, the team should be able to make the playoffs even with some health problems and inconsistent outside shooting.