The New York Knicks finished the 2014-15 season with a record of 17 wins and 65 losses. To begin the offseason they had four players with guaranteed contracts for the ’15-16 season. New York now have eleven players guaranteed to be on the squad on opening night as of right now.
But, without a big superstar coming to New York City, many fans are dubbing this offseason as a step back for the franchise.
The Roman Empire was not built in one day, nor were the great pyramids of Giza and neither was the Great Wall of China.
To all Knicks fans, did you honestly expect the Knicks to land stars in free agency? Were you positive that the Knicks would go from zero to hero in a matter of weeks? If you did, you’re kidding yourself.
Team President Phil Jackson, said yesterday that landing the big names was unrealistic. Of course they were going to pursue them but New York knew all along that they were extreme long shots to land players like Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe or LaMarcus Aldridge.
Here’s some food for thought; After missing out the highest ticketed item in 2010 – LeBron James – the Knicks hit the panic button and signed the injury-prone Amar’e Stoudemire to a five-year deal worth $100 million. In 2015, New York have added four players for a grand total of $96 million and their contracts combine for 12 seasons.
Phil Jackson, Steve Mills and Derek Fisher have done an excellent job not only in free agency but the offseason as a whole.
Firstly, the Knicks were able to flip the poor defending and ill advised shot taking shooting guard, Tim Hardaway Jr., for a first-round pick in Jerian Grant who is great on both ends of the floor, in addition to taking what now looks to be a very good pick in Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick.
You should be happy that Greg Monroe signed with Milwaukee, he plays no defense whatsoever, battles injuries constantly and will get paid $16 million a season. Instead New York went out and got Robin Lopez, an excellent defender who has some type of offensive game and a great attitude on both ends of the court.
DeMarre Carroll (12.6 points per game) signed for $15 million a year and Danny Green (11.7 points per game) landed a deal paying $11 million per season. Rather than following the trend New York went out and got shooter and defensive specialist, Arron Afflalo (13.3 points per game), on a two-year deal worth $16 million.
What you need to understand is that the Knicks are running a tight-knit system that doesn’t require fifteen All-Stars to work. The Knicks went out and landed themselves players who fit in with what they’re trying to do, added young players who could really improve in the system and a DEFENSIVE center.
The whole offensive game plan is centred around Carmelo Anthony. He attracts all the attention and he’s now surrounded by shooters. Afflalo has shot 40% from distance for his career, Galloway shot 37% from behind the ark last season and 45% from 16 feet out to the three point line. Porzingis has unlimited range, Grant shot 36% on threes over four seasons at Notre Dame, Jose Calderon shot 42% from long range a season ago, Kyle O’Quinn shot 44% from 10-16 feet and Cleanthony Early shot 57% in mid-range jumpers. There’s no more J.R. Smith bricks or Iman Shumpert to keep clanking open looks.
Now, a lot of you are beside yourselves due to the Knicks re-signing Lance Thomas and Lou Amundson. But why? What’s so appalling about them? They both only signed one-year deals.
For the last 41 games of last year they were starters, next season they will be role players giving us 10-15 minutes a night. Thomas is super athletic, has an adept mid-range jumper and is a good defender. That’s all you need from a role player.
Amundson is a tenacious rebounder on both ends, blocks shots and plays good defense. Again, that’s all that’s required of Amundsen with the role he’ll be playing.
Too many people are focused on winning right this minute which is completely far fetched. New York now have a great mix of young players and seasoned professionals. The irony is that people have been barking for the past two years that the Knicks need to go younger and now that they’ve actually done it, people don’t even want it!
The Knicks were never going to go from 15th in the eastern conference to being in the top five in one summer. It’s a step-by-step process. This offseason is a platform for next season, if the Knicks perform well and manage to make it into the postseason New York becomes a much more attractive free agent destination. Having possibly $30 million in cap space also helps.
Most of all, you need to appreciate the fact that all four of the free agent acquisitions desperately want to be in New York. Arron Afflalo had one team on his list entering free agency and it was the Knicks. Kyle O’Quinn wanted a homecoming. Derrick Williams wanted to be on the biggest stage and Robin Lopez wants the challenge.
After all, this is a team game and the Knicks have put together a team.