Three games behind the eighth seed, the New York Knicks’ veterans would obviously love to make the playoffs. But its time to rebuild.The NBA trade deadline has come and gone with the New York Knicks having made zero moves. Carmelo Anthony never heard of any offers on the table. Despite advanced talks, the possible Derrick Rose for Ricky Rubio deal did not happen. The questions for the rest of the 2016-2017 NBA season is simple – do the Knicks try to contend for playoff berth, or should they commit fully to tanking to land a high draft pick?
Reasons to Compete
The Knicks have a roster that, on paper, should be in the playoffs. Rose’s prediction of a super team has not come to fruition, as the Knicks are currently 23-34. That record is good enough for 12th in the East, but is still only three games out of the eighth seed. Veterans like Rose, Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee would like to win now, but how realistic is that proposition?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have steadily made moves to improve their roster, adding shooting guard Kyle Korver and power forward Derrick Williams.
The Toronto Raptors filled a hole by adding power forward Serge Ibaka, along with a veteran piece in shooting guard PJ Tucker.
The Washington Wizards got their bench scorer in small forward Bojan Bogdanavic, improving their roster.
The Boston Celtics didn’t make any moves, but they’re currently reaping the benefits of a youth rebuild.
If the Knicks made the playoffs, they would likely have to play one of the aforementioned teams, whom they have a combined record of 1-10 against.
Despite a valiant effort year round from Anthony, this team is just not good enough to win consistently. They have not been able to beat the top teams in the East, and unless there is a complete 360 after the All-Star break, that is likely to remain unchanged.
At this point, the only reason the Knicks would fight for a playoff position is to appease their weary fans. A playoff berth will likely lead to an early exit, since they have not been able to compete with any team that they would likely meet in the first round.
Reasons to Look to the Future
The upcoming NBA draft is loaded with potential talent in the lottery. If the Knicks commit to tanking, they will raise the chances of earning a top pick in a draft overflowing with potential.
With Rose’s contract expiring and the Knicks passing on a trade for Rubio, their point guard of the future could be in the 2017 draft. Guards such as Marqelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk should be available. The Knicks have the building blocks in Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez, and adding one of those guards would definitely help in the youth movement, as the Knicks look towards the future.
The chances of the Knicks becoming playoff contenders are very slim to none. It’s time to focus on developing the younger players.
Knicks fans require a glimmer of hope to live on, and in this case that is the possibility of a very bright future. The organization should decide to commit to continuing the rebuild by inserting themselves full force in the sweepstakes for a high draft pick in a loaded class.