When an NBA team finishes a season 17-65, that usually doesn’t bode well for following seasons. Take, for instance, the Philadelphia 76ers, circa six or so seasons ago. Year after year, they descended the conference ladder until, eventually, fans mocked their performances. It was to the point some felt they should be removed from the league.
The New York Knicks haven’t seen that much misfortune, despite not seeing the postseason for six years. Unfortunately, the direction they’re headed doesn’t provide much hope. They’ve recorded a few seasons with 30 or more wins since 2012-13. They finished a franchise-worst 17-65 twice in the last five seasons.
Assessing the roster
The perceived future for the Knicks saw top-tier athletes joining forces and saving them from centuries of bottom feeding. This is sadly no longer the case.
Julius Randle turned out to be the most notable of signings. He is coming off a career year with the New Orleans Pelicans. While he’s not quite accomplished, he joins a team full of youth that he can lead for a few years, barring any changes to the roster. Of course, this would imply Randle is All-Star material and that he can play the role of a veteran.
While we wait for signings like Randle to prove their worth, fans are getting a taste of a new and improved Kevin Knox paired with a further developing Mitchell Robinson in Summer League. These two are going to be instrumental for providing the spark it takes to surpass 17 wins, whether or not they’re only in their second season. At least they look relatively comfortable on the professional stage now.
Turn of events
As many NBA fans are aware, the Randle signing was followed by numerous team-friendly deals that put the Knicks in position to maneuver for a playoff push or provide assets to a contender, if need be.
One of those signings, Reggie Bullock, could reportedly have his contract voided for medical reasons, which would clear space for a surprise suitor in Marcus Morris. Morris was on the verge of signing with the San Antonio Spurs, but has suddenly considered the Knicks as a landing spot instead, assuming finances work out.
Morris has seen the playoffs and also brings a grit to both sides of the floor, something the younger players can learn from. He’d join a list of capable veterans, including Randle and Taj Gibson, in turning the culture of the Knicks around.
It must be revisited that the Knicks were 17-65 last season, so a fourth-seed finish is not in the cards. Morris would be a huge help, and while none of the aforementioned players is a healthy Kevin Durant, the Knicks could still make something out of what is largely believed to be nothing.
Assuming Morris joins the crew, the Knicks cap out at about 25 or so wins for me. Including Morris, who has run with a talented young group before, the Knicks make their way into the 30 or more wins mark. It could be overestimating to say the Knicks are officially in contention for playoffs. Randle is largely unproven, and younger guys are still improving. Yet, it doesn’t seem impossible.
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