Okay, I get that we have sustained insufferable trainwreck-after-trainwreck as Knicks fans, but I think we have reason to believe this isn’t so bad.
“How? We have the 9th worst record in the league…”
Because I believe in the youth of this team. I believe what Phil is building (albeit in a “I want the Wisconsin badgers of the NBA” aka super white fashion) COULD be a team that can compete.
- Kristaps Porzingis. Of course I have to start with him, it’d be wrong not to. Our 7’3″ Latvian unicorn is only going to get better and stronger, and we already see what he can do on the floor at 21 years old. If you don’t feel good about the future with him on the team, then you can’t sit with us.
- Willy Hernangomez. I know a true Knicks fan now when I talk about this season and they too get excited about this kid. You know why? That means they’ve been watching these *BRUTAL* games and are sharing in my misery. But here’s the thing – Willy BANGS. And he (much like KP) is becoming a really solid post player. With the time he’s had to see the floor this year, he’s developing REALLY nicely (shoutout to Joakim Noah giving up his spot so easily).
- Ron Baker. I have nothing but love for this kid… Yes, I realize he is flawed, but stripping this down to its bare bones, he is a guard willing to do whatever to win games. Dive for balls? PASS? Push the break? He will do it. He can bang threes and has taken (and hit) some big shots in his young career. I’m not saying he’s our #1 point guard, but he is a really solid player on this team and needs to be seen as such.
- Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Another product of Phil’s “Wisconsin Badger” basketball team (aka all-white). Kuz is 27 years old and has been known to STROKE three’s. While he’s a CRAZY liability on the defensive end, I have no issue having him on the team as a plug spot up shooter, especially if our offensive starts moving the ball and needs shooters to knock down corner 3’s like the glory days…
- Chasson Randle. Well done Phil. I guess you’re not as racist as I thought. To say Randle is a “success” as a Knick is premature to say the LEAST, but he seems to possess an energy this Knicks team desperately needs. He attacks the rim (like Rose), but also defends the ball hard (much unlike Rose). If he could be the floor general to start games, continue this defensive tenacity and have Baker come off the bench – our point guard position is set. We’ll scrap for every ball, we’d be unreal.
- Carmelo Anthony. It was absolutely by design Carmelo is 6th on this list. He still has that talent on offense that makes him great. He even (when he picks and chooses) can play defense. Maybe we relinquish him to a 6th man role like we did to STAT in his later years with the Knicks, and Melo can actually play 100% for the entire time he’s out there. We’ll plug him in when things aren’t working, but make sure to let him know the offense isn’t “his” UNLESS Hornacek tells him otherwise. I’d like to see a “Jamal Crawford-esque” Melo in the coming years, not a player who stops the ball as much as he does for 35 minutes a game.
- The Lottery & the Draft. Right now we’re #9 and a game away from being #6. I am afraid with the addition Randle, we could get a spark that moves us down, but let’s say the season ended today – we’re #9. Listen, at #4 Phil picked Porzingis (and NAILED it). He traded two 2nd rounders for Willy Hernangomez (I’d say totally worth it). And he saw the talent in Baker as an undrafted free agent and that was our “draft pick” last year. I trust Phil’s selection. Number 9 +/- a few is a good spot to be in. Also… Frozen envelope and we land Lonzo Ball??? Wouldn’t hate it.
- Kyle O’Quinn. Do I love him? No. Do I like him as a role player? Absolutely. Again, he’s another hustler who bangs down low and actually has a nice outside shot. You know what? He may just be Kurt Thomas (who ironically I also hated throughout his career and then loved him in his later years).
- $27 million in cap space for this summer. If my math is right (and it better be, it’s what I do for a living), the Knicks will have $26 million in cap space this summer after shedding Jennings, inevitably letting Rose walk, (hopefully)
murderingcutting Sasha Vujacic and respectfully letting Justin Holliday go.
If we have the 8 players I mentioned earlier, plus guys like Courtney Lee, Joakim Noah (goddamnit), Lance Thomas, Marshall Plumlee (I’m a biiiiiig Plumlee guy) and whatever STUD Phil drafts in the second round – I feel good about this team. I really do. And I don’t see why you wouldn’t be.