The draft left many gaping holes in New York’s roster. The team’s future identity almost fully relies on free agency which began at midnight.
Kristaps Porzingis is a huge question mark for the team as no one will know exactly to what extent he will contribute for the next 1-3 years. He was more of an offensive weapon than a defensive asset in his previous league but the NBA is completely different and his expertise may develop in a way to match whatever Derek Fisher asks of him to contribute.
Players such as Justise Winslow would have proved that Phil Jackson wishes to develop his team much more defensively than offensively while picking Emmanuel Mudiay would have proved the reverse of that. What does Kristaps Porzingis prove?
We don’t know.
That is why Phil Jackson has a lot to prove this offseason with free agency. Choosing his players will show which direction he is steering the team.
If he goes with players like Patrick Beverly or DeAndre Jordan then it is clear that his intentions are to develop the team defensively. And if you get both of those two players and put them on the Knicks, next season New York could be one of the best defensive teams in the Eastern Conference now with Tom Thibodeau out of Chicago. This would be the best route for New York as Carmelo Anthony is already known to be a poor player on the defensive end.
However if New York is going to sign players like Monta Ellis (which is unlikely) or Greg Monroe (pretty much definite), it would mean that New York wants to bring in more offensive options. With Carmelo and Monroe in the frontcourt this has the potential to be a defensive disaster. Deandre Jordan is a much better defensive player than Greg Monroe and also a fan of Shaquille O’Neal whose success is a product of Phil Jackson’s Triangle offense in Los Angeles.
However, it is highly unlikely that New York will be able to land someone as big as DeAndre Jordan because of Carmelo Anthony’s age, his selfishness, and his team not being a ready contender.
Phil Jackson might have to pick up the scraps left over of NBA free agency. Settling for small-name players while offering them huge contracts to lure them to the Big Apple. Whoever he brings will determine the team’s identity for seasons to come to either a defensive centered team or an offensive centered team.
I guess all Knicks fans can do is trust in Jackson, after all, he does have 11 rings.