The Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors are ready for the 2019 NBA Finals and the New York Knicks need to watch out for several players.
The 2019 NBA Finals are officially set.
The two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors will face off against the Toronto Raptors, a franchise that will be experiencing its first ever June basketball game. Two teams the New York Knicks are hoping to succeed next season (yes, we are going to make this about the Knickerbockers).
But in order to pass them, they need their help. Because obviously, this current Knicks roster isn’t de-throning anyone; however, with one or two major free agency moves and a few low key signings, maybe they could.
And what better atmosphere to evaluate players in than the NBA Finals? The pressure is at the highest it can possibly be. Championships, possibly even dynasties hang in the balance of each and every possession.
Throughout the series, superstars are obviously carrying a lot of weight on their shoulders. But what’s even more fascinating to watch is how role players react. Because more often than not, they tend to crumble when the lights are that bright. So here are a few role-player type guys that the Knicks should keep their eye on throughout the series.
During the regular season, Danny Green was playing like a top 10, maybe even top five role player in the league. He finished averaging 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game on 46.5% shooting from the field and 45.5% shooting on three-pointers. The best three-point percentage in the league, Green was also a premier perimeter defender with a defensive rating of 103.7. He was likely setting himself up for a $12-15 million per year payday this offseason.
However, through three rounds of the playoffs, Green is averaging just 6.8 points per game on 32.5% shooting from the field and 31.4% from behind the arc. Horrendous. And if you’re the Knicks, you want him to continue with this disastrous stretch.
I know it may sound weird but let’s say the Knicks are only able to sign one big-name free agent. Their best option would then be to sign a couple of role players using the other half of their cap space. And they would love to get Danny Green for as cheap as possible.
Plus, we already know what he’s capable of in the playoffs. He’s a career 40% three-point shooter in the postseason. There should be no worry about that. So yes, allow him to knock off some of his value in the finals. It would be in the Knicks best interest if he once again shot 30% and they could get him for around $10 million per year.
Should the Knicks sign DeMarcus Cousins? Probably not. But are they definitely going to if they strike out in early July? Yes. Because at the end of the day, DeMarcus Cousins is still a relevant name. And the front office needs something to market heading into next season.
So the best Knicks fans can hope for is that Cousins returns from his torn quad (likely returning in game two) and shows that he’s still a versatile big man.
He doesn’t have to be dominant, but it would be nice if he could get back and average an efficient 14 points and eight rebounds per game. That would allow Knicks fans to be somewhat less terrified at the prospect of signing him to a $13 million per year contract.
But if he comes back and looks rusty, out of shape, and has his minutes taken by Kevon Looney, Knicks faithful should be prepared to riot come free agency.
Also, I am not including Kevin Durant on this list because barring a career-ending injury, the Knicks are going to offer him a max contract and rightfully so.