It seems the New York Knicks’ slot for reserve point guard is Chasson Randle’s to lose.
New York has 14 guaranteed contracts heading into training camp. It is likely the 15th and final spot will be reserved for a guard to back-up both Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings.
Randle earned a partially guaranteed contract after torching the Orlando Summer League for 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and five assists through three games. The 23-year-old guard out of Stanford shot 11-for-20 (55%) from three-point range, and New York’s relative inactivity on the free agency market suggests Phil Jackson and company may be content with Randle as third-string floor general.
Both Jennings’ (ruptured Achilles) and Rose’s (twice-torn meniscus, torn ACL) shaky injury histories underscore the importance of New York’s third point guard. Jennings has played in just 75 games over the past two seasons, and Rose, though rebounding nicely from meniscus surgery, has played in 146 regular season games since his 2011 MVP season.
It is also likely Jeff Hornacek play the two point guards together, as he did with his dynamic back courts in Phoenix.
In a relatively small sample size, Randle, who went undrafted in 2015 before signing with Czech team CEZ Nymburg, proved an efficient perimeter scorer who can provide support should one or both of New York’s guards go down.
The Knicks won two of three Summer League games with Randle on the floor, including a 29-point blowout over the Clippers. He boasted a 27.76 player efficiency rating through those three games. Without him, New York suffered back-to-back 25-plus-point losses.
Randle averaged 19.6 points and three assists per game as a senior at Stanford, where he ran the same Triangle Offense the Knicks have struggled to implement. He averaged 12.8 points in 20 minutes per game last season with CEZ Nymburg, helping them win the Czech league title.
The Knicks can also offer a minimum contract to a guard with more experience. NBA teams can carry 20 players on the roster into training camp. New York has 17:
PG: Rose, Jennings, Randle
SG: Lee, Vujacic, Holiday, Baker
SF: Anthony, Thomas, Ndour, Tokoto
PF: Porzingis, O’Quinn, Kuzminskas
C: Noah, Hernangomez, Plumlee
Other point guards still available on the market include Norris Cole – NOP; Steve Blake – DET; Mario Chalmers – MEM; Andre Miller – SAS; Nate Robinson – Israel; Kirk Hinrich – ATL; and Xavier Munford – MEM.