With 18 games left in the season, the Knicks are five and half games out of the eighth seed. That being said, I firmly believe it is time to let the young part of the roster get consistent minutes from here on out. It was evident in Monday’s game against the Magic, that the younger, inexperienced players can actually get the job done.
Chasson Randle, an undrafted rookie, stepped into the role right away, playing the entire fourth quarter and having Derrick Rose sit and watch from the bench. Ron Baker, another undrafted rookie, started that game as the Knicks went with a smaller lineup. Baker has shown flashes of being a gritty, scrappy guard, but inconsistency stemming from turnovers fluctuates his minutes.
Another rookie, Mindaugas Kuzminskas has also proved at times that he can be a role player with this time in years to come. Though at 27 years of age already, he is behind many players and could find himself looking for a job instead. “Kuz” as the Knicks fans call him, has played the most out of the three on the roster. He can shoot the three very well at time, but also can go ice cold in spurts.
These three rookie need to be an important focal point for the next month or so, to see what the Knicks will do next year.
Everything is not all about the rooks though, as the Knicks have rising superstar Kristaps Porzingis and young Spaniard Willy Hernangomez, who happens to be a rookie. These two in the front court can be a force to be reckon with in the next few years.
With Joakim Noah possibly leaning towards a teaching role, Hernangomez and possibly Kyle O’Quinn can form a solid center position for the future.
Having role players is key, such as Justin Holiday, who is also young and can defend the wing at a high level. He gets consistent minutes, which is a plus for the team. Players like Holiday, Randle, Baker, Kuzminskas, O’Quinn, and Hernangomez will compliment Porzingis nicely with a more experience.
The Knicks will most likely get a lottery pick, and I can foresee them drafting a point guard, or a score-first forward to build around Kristaps. Just keep waiting Knick fans, our time will come.