Kiatsu Knicks

I Was Wrong About the New York Knicks

I have written a few articles bemoaning the Knicks Front Office for the contracts they handed out and the coach they hired. With season’s end approaching, I have some more takes on the Knicks.

I still don’t like the RJ contract, that’s a lot to pay a wing who doesn’t defend anymore, with next to no playmaking ability. I do believe Thibs is not the one to get the Knicks over the hump, but the Brunson contract is looking like the biggest free agency steal of the last decade, and Randle’s contract looks like a bargain as well. Mitchell Robinson’s deal is good (health permitting), but the crown jewel of it all has to be the trade deadline acquisition of Josh Hart. That move is what won me over. That move is why I’m writing this.

When I saw the Knicks traded a first and Cam Reddish for Josh Hart, I was indifferent. I didn’t hate the move, because it was obvious Reddish didn’t fit this team. To be frank, I don’t think he will ever turn into anything more than a toolsy player, who gives you enough flashes to keep getting chances on a roster.

As of March 8, the Knicks are 9-1 since trading for Hart, and are top 10 in defensive and offensive rating since changing to a nine man rotation. 

I will give complete credit to Thibs here, he was willing to do what other coaches wouldn’t, and effectively cut the dead weight off the rotation. It also helps that the Knicks provided him with one of the most heady players in basketball in Josh Hart. In the nine games since they acquired Hart, one thing is apparent: he is exactly what the doctor ordered for this team. He is the stereotypical “glue guy” that so many contenders have on their rosters. 

You need a stout defender on, or off, the ball? Hart.

You need help crashing the glass on offense and defense? Hart (he averages over 7 rebounds on the season).

You need someone to initiate offense while Brunson and Quickley get a breather? Hart.

You need a spot-up shooter who knows when to attack closeouts and can score in transition? That’s Josh Hart too.

He isn’t elite at any of these skills, but he can do them all, and he doesn’t do any of it out of flow. He does exactly what is demanded of him as the game unfolds. He can have 10 shots or three shots, and he gives you the same effort. 

I hate to use this cliché, but he knows how to play winning basketball. He can work in any lineup combination the Knicks want to run. While I do believe that the Knicks are in need of one more upper-level wing (Mikal Bridges) to truly compete for a championship, I think they have done everything in their power to bring this team to contention; while maintaining flexibility, and keeping a solid collection of young talent.

The Josh Hart trade tells me something I never thought I’d see again: the Knicks have a competent Front Office who finally understand that every trade does not have to be to get the superstar that will save the Knicks. I owe this Front Office an apology, and it’s possible I may owe Thibs one too when this seasons all said and done.

I have never been happier to admit I was wrong. 


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