The Knicks need to make some big roster moves for them to be a true title contender. Should they go after a star shooting guard to play alongside Jalen Brunson in the back court?
This second round loss to the Heat has proven that the Knicks have some ways to go before they are ready to compete for a championship. There will probably be some personnel changes made during the offseason but I believe that there is one change that should be the Knicks top priority.
Adding a star guard.
Brunson needs help!
Jalen Brunson played great during this playoff run and showed how much of a leader he is. In 11 postseason games played, Brunson averaged 27.8 PPG, 5.6 APG, and 4.9 RPG while shooting an efficient 47.4 % from the field. Also, in the 6 game series against the Heat, Brunson scored 30 points or more in 4 of those games, including the heroic 41 point performance in Game 6.
Even though Brunson’s play in the postseason was excellent, the Knicks kind of put too much of a load on him to carry. Not only did he have to run the offense but he was called upon to take on the scoring load and deliver in clutch situations. The Knicks need someone that can take on some of those responsibilities, which is the reason why they should look to acquire a star two guard to play with Brunson in the back court.
Now, the Knicks would have to give up some depth and future draft picks to make this happen but there are players that can be worth the cost.
Recently on ESPN First Take, Stephen A. Smith brought up the idea of the Knicks trading for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. He might not necessarily be your prototypical two guard but pairing him with Jalen Brunson would be something special. Lillard is one of the best guards this league has to offer and could instantly take pressure off of Brunson. Plus, with rumors about swirling about Lillard possibly moving on from the Trailblazers, this can be the perfect time for the Knicks to make a deal happen.
In order for the Knicks to pull off a deal like this, it’s possible that Julius Randle might be the centerpiece of this deal alongside other key players and draft picks. Randle has been a good All star player for the Knicks but his playoff production has continued to be an issue, which is something that you wouldn’t have to worry about with Lillard. If the Knicks can make this work without giving up too much in return, I would consider pursuing this deal. It gives Brunson the help he needs and it can potentially make the Knicks true contenders.
Options #2 and #3
If the Knicks decide not to go this route, they should also think about trading for Bulls guards Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan. With the lack of success that has occurred in Chicago, both stars can potentially be on the move this off season. It wouldn’t be realistic for the Knicks to get both so picking between the two is what they will have to decide.
During the trade deadline, it was rumored that the Knicks were close to landing Zach LaVine to New York but the deal never happened. LaVine has dealt with his injury woes over the years but he is a star guard that can score on all three levels and create his own shot. Over the past 5 seasons with the Bulls, he has averaged better than 23 PPG while shooting nearly 50% from the field and around 38% from three. Plus, with him being only 28 years old, LaVine would fit right into the young core of players that the Knicks have on this roster.
On the other hand, DeMar DeRozan is also someone that can score at a high level. DeRozan has a career average of 21 PPG and has the experience of being the top option on a playoff team. Also, you probably won’t have to give up as much in a trade to get him like you have to do with trading for LaVine and Lillard. DeRozan’s lack of a three point shot might be a cause for concern but he’s been consistent and elite at creating his own shot, which helps Brunson in the back court. If there’s a good deal that comes along for DeRozan, the Knicks should make the trade happen.
There hasn’t really been a time where the Knicks have had both the players and the draft capital to make a big deal happen. They are in that position now and need to take the next step to becoming a contender. Big decisions can potentially be on the horizon this off season. Let’s just hope the Knicks make the right decisions this time around.
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