The Knicks have been searching for a point guard for a long time. What options do they have?
In the short term, the New York Knicks are rolling with Alec Burks as the starter and Immanuel Quickley off the bench. Derrick Rose is out for the foreseeable future after undergoing another procedure on his ankle and Kemba Walker stepped away from the team.
But that only answers the point guard question for the rest of this lost season. What options do the Knicks have to address the point guard position for the future?
Rose is under contract for at least one more year and if he’s healthy, he’s a perfect backup point guard. Let’s assume that the Knicks are going to stick with him there and have Burks and/or Quickley as the safety valve.
What’s the plan to address the starting point guard spot? Here are a few paths the Knicks could take to fill this hole.
Sign-and-Trade for Jalen Brunson
This is the best option on the market for the Knicks. He’s grown into a dependable point guard who could flourish in a bigger role. Jalen Brunson is averaging 16.0 points and 5.4 assists per game and that’s playing alongside Luka Doncic.
To be clear, Brunson’s connection with Doncic is part of the reason why he’s playing well this year, but he has shown enough to be considered as a primary ballhandler elsewhere.
A report from Marc Berman of the New York Post earlier this season points to New York’s potential interest in Brunson. Jalen’s father Rick has long-standing ties to Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus also reported that Brunson is seeking a four-year, $80 million deal. That’s a big chunk of change, which would require some salary-cap maneuvering to get it done.
Brunson’s career arc is mirroring Fred VanVleet — an undersized point guard enters the league at 22 before developing into a bonafide starting point guard. Brunson may not develop into the All-Star that VanVleet is, but he is still an intriguing option for the Knicks at point guard.
Sign-and-Trade for Collin Sexton
If the Knicks are looking for a pure point guard, Brunson is the way to go. However, if they are comfortable massaging the term “point guard” to “lead guard” for Collin Sexton, that’s another option.
Sexton is out with a torn meniscus and will miss the rest of the season, but he’s still going to find a soft landing when he returns. The Cleveland Cavaliers are crushing it without Sexton in the lineup and they are going to leave the keys in the hands of Darius Garland.
Will they bring back Sexton as a sixth-man, microwave scorer off the bench? Possibly, but there have already been rumors and reports of Knicks’ interest in Sexton. For the right price, he could be a slightly outside-the-box option for New York.
After all, he averaged over 20 points per game in two of his first three seasons. Although he’s not a perfect fit, he’s an option.
Draft a Point Guard
Drafting the point guard of the future is the ideal option. The Knicks can have their guy on a rookie-scale deal for a few years and then they will have the upper hand in signing him later on. In a perfect world, the Knicks would draft their point guard for the next 15 years in June.
But we don’t live in perfect worlds.
The 2022 draft class is stacked with wings and big men, but light on pure point guards. Purdue’s Jaden Ivey fits that “lead dog” archetype and is a legitimate top-five talent. If the Knicks are able to take Ivey, they shouldn’t hesitate. He has the upside that makes the juice worth the squeeze.
TyTy Washington out of Kentucky is more of a pure point guard who should fall somewhere in the late lottery.
But after that, it’s slim pickings. There are a few point guards who might go in the back half of the first round, but that will rarely fill out a starting spot for a team.
They could opt for another stop-gap veteran, but that hasn’t worked well in the past — Kemba Walker, Elfrid Payton, Emmanuel Mudiay, and the list goes on and on. There are no easy answers when it comes to point guard for the Knicks.