I’ve got something to say to all the Knicks fans out there: CALM DOWN! IT’S NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK! Knicks fans are the only fans that would denounce Thursday’s draft as if it were the antichrist. Stephen A., I love ya, but seriously man if you think drafting Porzingis and getting Jerian Grant is a bad draft, you shouldn’t have a job anymore. The Knicks can’t win. When they make moves like resigning Melo to win now, people say they aren’t looking towards the future. But when they pick a guy at 4 who has the potential to end up being a superstar and the future of the franchise, they’re knocked for not drafting a more NBA ready player. Oh, by the way, we also got Jerian Grant who’s probably the 3rd best point guard in this class (Cameron Payne is overrated). Depending on how much playing time he gets, he may be dark horse for Rookie of the Year and could end up looking better than a guy like Mudiay, who’s still a bit of a mystery.
To all the fans booing at the Barclay’s Center and ESPECIALLY to that little brat crying after the pick was announced, shame on you. Go root for another basketball team. Yeah, Porzingis is European. Yes, he’s skinny and may need 2 years before being fully adapted to the NBA. But that’s fully adapted. You know what should work fine right off the bat? That silky smooth shooting stroke. You know what else? Melo won’t be here forever. I know that’s why people are saying we should’ve drafted Winslow instead or Cauley-Stein or someone else that is NBA ready. But what about getting a guy who can carry the franchise for years after Melo is gone? Why would we cater the whole franchise to Melo who has, let’s be honest, done nothing to warrant such faith. Winslow, Mudiay and Cauley-Stein all may turn out to be all-star players, but there are really 4 guys who have the ability to become superstars: Towns, Okafor, Russell and Porzingis. With those 3 off the board, why wouldn’t you take Porzingis at 4? The shooting should translate immediately, and once a post game is established into his repertoire, he will be a formidable player in this league. The Hardaway for Grant trade is a steal. Grant pretty much does everything Hardaway does, but better. And he plays defense! You heard right, DEFENSE! Hopefully the Knicks are able to offload Calderon in the offseason so the backcourt can be a youthful combo of Grant and Galloway.
Speaking of the offseason, the Knicks should have a better idea of what they want to do in free agency after their haul from the draft. A possible starting and definite backup point guard and a starting stretch 4 is a good place to start. As of right now, the lineup would probably constitute of Calderon, Galloway, Melo, Porzingis and an empty spot at center because we literally don’t have one. Clearly, getting a center is one of the top priorities since there isn’t one on the roster. Upgrading in the backcourt and getting deeper on the bench round out the offseason checklist for the Knicks. Starting at the 5, the obvious main target is Marc Gasol. Given that Gasol seems like a sensible human being, I don’t think he’ll be coming to New York this summer. A player that the Knicks have been heavily linked to fill the center role is Greg Monroe.
I’ll be clear as to how I feel about Monroe: signing him would doom the Knicks for as long as his contract runs. First of all, Monroe does something that a lot of people in the NBA can do. He gets double-doubles. There are a lot of guys who can do that for a lot cheaper on the free agent market. Second of all, he occupies a lot of the same spaces that Melo likes to operate in. Third of all, he can’t play defense for shit. While Porzingis may develop into a good defender and legit rim protector, he won’t be a good defender in the NBA in his first year or two. The Knicks would BLEED points with a frontcourt of Melo, Porzingis and Monroe. It would be hard to watch. Instead of going for a flashy name like Monroe, I’d rather see the Knicks go after Robin Lopez. The former Blazers big man is much cheaper, a good a rebounder and a much better defender. A rim protector like Lopez would take some pressure off Melo and Porzingis on the defensive end.
When it comes to getting some backcourt and wing help, there are plenty of options for the Knicks to look at. The Knicks should kick the tires on Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton and Kawhi Leonard just for due diligence, but it’s unlikely either of those two will leave their teams as restricted free agents. Some names that may prove to be likelier are Wes Matthews, Aaron Afflalo, Danny Green and Marco Belinelli. Matthews has some question marks surrounding him due to his torn Achilles and Green makes me a bit wary because I wonder if the Spurs system is what makes him so valuable. Afflalo is a guy I would look at to insert into the starting five, while Belinelli is someone that is nice to have come off your bench in the second unit.
To strengthen their bench, the Knicks have already gotten a head start, as it’s reported that David West will sign with the team. Hopefully it’s not for too much money and only a 2-year deal, since he’s already 34. Cleanthony Early will also be back on the bench and I’d expect Thanasis Antetokounmpo to be on the squad as well. The Knicks may look at guys like Quincy Acy, Cole Aldrich, Lance Thomas, Alexy Shved, Lou Amundson, Jason Smith and even Andrea Bargnani to come back on cheaper deals as role players. If Calderon is retained and another guard is signed with the intention to start, then Grant and Galloway will also provide depth on the bench. In free agency, the Knicks can look at guys like Al-Farouq Aminu, Glen Davis, Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufus to fill out the bench.
With a roster like the one outlined above, the Knicks roster could look like this:
PG – Jose Calderon
SG – Aaron Afflalo
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Kristaps “The White Reaper” Porzingis
C – Robin Lopez
People may look at this roster and wonder why there’s no sexy free agent name on their like Aldridge, Monroe, Gasol or Rondo. That’s because there’s either a very slim chance of them coming to New York or they just simply aren’t worth the money and years. The kind of lineup outlined above is perfect for the Knicks next season because it will allow them to compete for a 6-8 seed in the Eastern Conference and it doesn’t use up their entire cap space in one summer. The Knicks will still be able to have cap flexibility in 2016 when there will be more marquee free agents who can make a bigger difference to the Knicks and make more sense short-term and long-term (Kevin Durant). They will also have more assets in the event that a big time player becomes available via trade. I’m just begging you Phil, BEGGING YOU….please don’t give Greg Monroe a max contract. Don’t give him any contract. You’ve shown you’re not shortsighted with the drafting of Porzingis, so please don’t mess it up and handicap this team by signing Monroe. We’ve been through enough.