Copy Of Knicks Path To ECF

The New York Knicks’ Path to Eastern Conference Contention In 2024

The New York Knicks are now 3-0 since acquiring OG Anunoby. Taking down respected contenders in the Timberwolves and 76ers this past week, the new-look Knicks are getting people on the bandwagon fast. The trade has bolstered their defense and versatility, but it has also exposed an issue that could impede their playoff aspirations: a lack of bench scoring. Now if you watched the game in Philadelphia last night, you would not be concerned, but we know the NBA arms race for talent will force some teams hands. As the Eastern Conference continues to evolve into a battleground of titans, the Knicks must find the right pieces to polish their roster for a deep playoff run, all while keeping an eye on the future. 

As of right now, it seems like the New York Knicks are looking to acquire a player at the trade deadline who contributes to shot creation and holds a contract highly valued by their current team, but they can’t retain due to luxury tax concerns.

The first and foremost area the Knicks need to address is their bench scoring. The second unit’s ability to maintain or extend leads when the starters rest is crucial. The more close games, the more minutes Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle have to play. You want to avoid putting those miles on your stars as much as possible, so let’s explore potential candidates who could fill this void:

Malcolm Brogdon

A seasoned guard with a knack for shot creation, Malcolm Brogdon could be the steady hand needed to lead the second unit. In fact, I think he should be the number one target approaching the February Trade Deadline. His experience and ability to play both guard positions make him a flexible option for the Knicks. I also want to mention he is a CAA client and we have referenced the ties to Knicks President Leon Rose here a few times.  

Bones Hyland

Still on a rookie deal, so no trade would be too complicated. An emerging talent, Bones Hyland boasts a dynamic scoring ability that could instantly ignite the Knicks’ bench. His youthful energy and scoring flair would be a welcome addition to a team looking for offensive sparks. Making $4.1 million next year and not getting consistent minutes played, he is definitely seeking an opportunity to play more elsewhere. 

Jordan Clarkson

Not going to happen without a Leon Rose and Rich Paul sit-down, but this one could be a lot of fun at MSG. The former Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson is a proven scorer off the bench. His ability to get hot in a hurry can change the complexion of a game, providing the Knicks with a much-needed offensive jolt that they lost with Quickley getting traded in the OG Anunoby deal. Clarkson would most likely be a rental, as he makes nearly $24 million and his contract expires this season. 

Bojan Bogdanovic

A three-point marksman who can score inside and out, Bojan Bogdanovic brings a veteran presence and a reliable scoring touch. He could serve as a stabilizing force when the second unit is in need of points. His size and scoring would fit well within the Knicks’ system with the lack of consistent scoring forwards. 

Buddy Hield

If not Bogdanovic, a sharpshooter like Buddy Hield can space the floor and open up driving lanes for others. If the Knicks play him as the backup Small Forward, you know they could use his catch-and-shoot ability from that corner. Adding a guy like Buddy Hield would be nice, but without the addition of a backup Point Guard, the second unit may still lack a floor general type of player. 

Dennis Schroder

Schroder is basically a perfect back up Point Guard. If the Raptors are down to conduct more business after the OG trade. Known for his quickness and scoring ability, Dennis Schroder could provide the Knicks with an aggressive scoring guard who isn’t afraid to take over when necessary. This will open up free plays for shooters while also making sure the bench plays with good pace and not playing too slow in the half court.

Each of these players could contribute to the Knicks’ scoring woes off the bench without compromising their long-term financial flexibility. It’s essential for New York to target players who are on expiring or team-friendly deals to maintain cap space for future seasons.

Bolstering Paint Presence and Rebounding

The Knicks need Jericho Sims healthy and to contribute fast. Taj Gibson, we appreciate your service but we want to watch the young guys score. While scoring is vital, the Knicks identity has cemented into controlling the paint on both ends of the floor and playing defense with a high level of intensity. Here are players who could help polish the Knicks and strengthen their interior presence:

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond could be a valuable asset for the Knicks and impact winning immediately with what he brings. Drummond, can dominate the boards and provide the Knicks with additional second-chance scoring opportunities. His offensive game may not be very impactful, but neither is Mitchell Robinson’s, and that’s okay. If they can up the offensive rebound production to even as close as it was with Robinson in the lineup, this new look Knicks team can apply more pressure on the offensive side, while making sure the paint is protected with him and Hartenstein rotating minutes. 

Myles Turner

Represented by CAA, maybe the Knicks can swindle the Pacers for Myles Turner. The bad part is that it would probably represent the end of the Mitchell Robinson era. Myles Turner is not only a formidable rebounder but also an elite shot-blocker. His ability to alter shots inside would be a significant deterrent for opponents driving to the rim which can be seen as a permanent solution at the Center position for the Knicks.

Clint Capela

An unlikely one due to him making $22 million next season, but I certainly would like the fit for this team based on need. It is possible, but the Knicks front office would have to get crafty for the roster next season. Clint Capela has consistently been one of the league’s top rebounders and provides high-energy play in the paint. His presence would give the Knicks second chances on offense and limit opponents’ on the defensive end. A more expensive option than Drummond here in my opinion. 

Jarrett Allen

Another Center the Knicks would have to see as a permanent solution for years to come, Allen is owed $40 million over the next two seasons. Jarrett Allen’s elite rebounding and rim protection could transform the Knicks’ interior defense. With his youth and upside, Allen could also be a long-term piece for the franchise.

Targeting one of these big men could give the Knicks the edge they need in the paint, an area that’s often a deciding factor in the more physical playoff atmosphere. Maintaining this aspect of their culture is huge and these big’s up front can certainly compliment Isaiah Hartenstein well, who has been putting up a great effort in Mitchell Robinson’s absence. 

Crafting a Contender Without Jeopardizing the Future

The Knicks must be cautious and not sacrifice too many draft assets or young talent in pursuit of immediate improvements. Smart, calculated moves can add depth and talent to the current roster while preserving future cap space and draft capital.

As the Knicks consider potential trades, they should look for players who are not only effective on the court but also have contracts that won’t hinder their financial flexibility. The goal is to build a team that can compete now and continue to grow in the years to come.

The Knicks could position themselves as a formidable force in this years Eastern Conference playoffs while setting the stage for sustained future success. The moves made at this year’s trade deadline could very well define the trajectory of the franchise for seasons to come. It’s an opportunity the Knicks must seize with both wisdom and ambition or blow it like we are all used to. 


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