The New York Knicks had a disappointing second season under head coach Tom Thibodeau.
After ending the franchise’s seven-year playoff drought with a surprising 41-31 campaign last season, the Knicks failed to even make the play-in tournament in 2021-22. New York finished 11th in the Eastern Conference at 37-45, six games back of the 10th-place Charlotte Hornets.
So how can the Knicks get back on track in 2022-23?
Well, according to NBC New York lead sports anchor Bruce Beck, there’s more than one fix required.
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“The New York Knicks need everything,” Beck says.
More specifically, Beck highlights three of the more pressing areas of need: “A point guard, a center and Julius Randle to return to form.”
New York’s offseason will start in the 2022 NBA Draft, where they hold the No. 11 and No. 42 overall selections. Several recent mock drafts have the Knicks addressing the guard or center spot at No. 11, with Ohio State guard Malaki Branham, G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels and Memphis center Jalen Duren among the prospects being mocked to them.
There’s always the possibility for a trade-up as well. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony boldly predicted New York would move up to the No. 4 pick, which is held by the Sacramento Kings, to select star Purdue guard Jaden Ivey.
After the draft will come free agency. While they project to be an over-the-cap team, the Knicks would still have some spending power in the form of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($10.3 million) and the bi-annual exception ($4.1 million). The team’s biggest free agent is center Mitchell Robinson, whom they possess full Bird rights on.
New York has been linked to pending unrestricted free agent Jalen Brunson, whose father Rick reportedly is being hired to Thibodeau's staff. But the Dallas Mavericks point guard is expected to command an annual salary of at least $20 million following a career year. So the Knicks would have to shed some of their mid-level salaries, which include Derrick Rose ($14.5 million), Alec Burks ($10 million), Nerlens Noel ($9.2 million) and Kemba Walker ($9.2 million), to get far enough under the cap, or facilitate a sign-and-trade with Dallas to land Brunson.
If they could swing it, drafting a potential center of the future in Duren at No. 11 and luring Brunson away from Dallas to pair him with RJ Barrett in the backcourt would be quite the way to check off those point guard and center boxes.
And, lastly, there’s Randle. The former No. 7 overall pick rose to Second Team All-NBA status last season before taking a substantial step back in 2021-22. His numbers declined nearly across the board, with his scoring going from 24.1 points per game to 20.1, his field goal percentage from 45.6% to 41.1% and his 3-point percentage from 41.1% to 30.8%.
Randle regaining some of that 2020-21 magic would go a long way in the Knicks’ efforts to get back to the playoffs next season.