The Knicks are one of the most iconic NBA teams and is the favorite child of the media and the League. The NBA loves nothing more than watching big market teams succeed helping them gain revenue and an audience. That is exactly why you would think the Knicks should succeed. However with horrific ownership, multiple draft and trade mistakes and poor development you get the Knicks. Luckily for the Knicks, they might have just found their hero.
RJ Barrett is a 6’7 Sg/Sf from Duke, nicknamed the Maple Mamba. He arguably has a ceiling that is just as high as anyone in the draft(Hot take…I know). He is a crafty wing who showed potential to be a superstar in high school and in college. If given the keys to the city and the team with some successful draft days in the future, they can develop a very strong young core around him(will talk about later). With the potential of a superstar, an NBA built body and the mindset of his godfather Steve Nash, RJ can end up being the savior for the Knicks franchise. It is all written perfectly. The 3rd pick. Like Michael Jordan was the savior of basketball in the late 80s. RJ will be the savior for the Knicks.
Although not getting Kyrie and KD is disappointing, the Knicks might just be better off without them. The reason I believe it is best for the Knicks Franchise is because I think a fresh start is exactly what they need. The Knicks just cleared almost all of their bad contracts, and now have a clean slate. We saw the Lakers this season struggle because their young players were not given the freedom on the basketball court to feel things out, find their way and preform. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are 2 prospects with very high potential but were put into an unfortunate role as more of a spot up shooter alongside Lebron. It is not easy to learn from your mistakes and get better especially when you can’t even play your own game. KD and Kyrie would stunt the development of RJ and with them on the court he would never reach his full potential.
Future talent has never been better as their are more hyped up college and high school-heck even middle school-prospects to come. We saw the Warriors build their dynasty with successful drafts. They were able to pick Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in the same draft we’ll also drafting a solid role player in Festus Ezeli all in 2012. They got Steph at 7 in 2009 and Klay at 11 in 2011. Originally- of course-with a young core, you are going to struggle. There will be growing pains and chemistry building needed to be successful in the league. The warriors devolved their players to play the role that they envisioned for them and built s championship team. KD was the only signing but even without KD the Dynasty was built through the draft. If the Knicks were able to replicate the success of the Warriors with their drafts, with all of their future draft assets, can create a lethal young core.
The upcoming drafts have players with start studded talent the Knicks should look to draft like James Weissman, Cole Anthony and Lamelo Ball (I purposely did not mention a wing player because of RJ). There is 2 real questions about the Knicks future. 1-Who will they pick? 2-How will the Knicks develop them? Obviously most of the time drafting is not easy(unless you were the pelicans this year). But if the Knicks do not think that they have the right staff to draft the right players than get rid of them. Start fresh in the front office if you need to as well. The staff also needs to find the best in every prospect and bring out the best player in them.
The Knicks are set for the future. The Knicks this year will probably improve a little with young future role players/assets like Trier, Knox and Mitch Rob further developing and of course RJ Barrett. But I would guess that most people will predict that they will miss the playoffs next year. This means that the Knicks will not only have an entry in the lottery, they will have an even better chance than before with the new lottery odds. We saw teams skip all over the place in the lottery this year. Anything is possible as we saw the lakers, grizzlies and pelicans all fall inside the top 5 without even being projected there. Not only that but they have future assets like 2 first rounders from the Mavs in 2021 and 2023. Also 2 seconds from a Charlotte in 2020 and 2021. The Knicks have set themselves up for success with short contracts this summer. When the players they pick in future drafts start to develop, that money will be off their books and it will open room for a big name free agent possibly. This is exactly why they are better off building through the draft. Teams are built through chemistry and failure. They get another lottery pick, than eventually make the playoffs and gain experience and chemistry throughout the journey. Then they are ready to make a run. We saw it just this year with a young Brooklyn team that nobody expected anything out of. They were one solid piece away from making a serious run. It is the players development as a team that makes them great not their individual development.
RJ is a franchise caliber player and can turn things around for the Knicks. I believe that if the Knicks draft well in the future, and RJ develops into the superstar that he has the potential to be, the Knicks will be in good position for years to come. Make RJ the face of not just the team but the city. Give him everything New York. Surround a stud like RJ with the right talent and you are in for something dangerous. The Knicks have a clean slate. If they mess this up, something needs to change in the front office, or Dolan needs to sell the team.