Why the Knicks striking out this summer could be the best thing that has ever happened to their franchise

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.

How the Spurs consistently remain a playoff team even while rebuilding

The Spurs have been arguably the most successful team since Greg Popovich became the head coach in 1996. They have won 5 titles including 99’(Duncan), 03’(Duncan), 05’(Duncan), 07’(Parker) and 14’(Leonard). The only seasons the Spurs have had under 45 wins under Pop was 1996 when he took over mid-season(17-47) and the 1998 season in which they finished 37-13 and only played 50 games due to the lockout. They have made the playoffs 22 years in a row.

In Pops first offseason, they landed the #1 overall pick and gave the Wake Forest stud Tim Duncan the keys to the team. The Next year the team improved from 17-47 to 56-26. Pop implemented his system with just one addition in the offseason. 2 years later in 1999, Pop took Emanuel Ginóbili with the 57th overall pick. Not known to us as “Manu” yet, nobody predicted him to become one of the biggest pieces to their dynasty. In 2001, the dynasty was complete as they drafted the French point guard by the name of Tony Parker with the 28th overall pick. We all know what he became and the Spurs trio plus Popovich went on to win many NBA Finals.

For the first 5 years after the 2007 Finals, many began to believe that the Spurs 4 ring dynasty was coming to an end. Most teams with older players that are declining would trade them away to capitalize on their value, however Pop knew that they were just one piece away from being a contender again. In 2011, Pop took the risk on the 15th overall pick from San Diego State, Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs traded George Hill for him and even got back a solid role player in Davis Bertans on draft night. Kawhi flourished in Pops system bringing the spurs to 2 Finals appearances and winning the Finals MVP in 2014. However, in between the 7 years of their last NBA Finals appearance in 2007, they did not have a season where they won less than 50 games. Being able to rebuild with limited assets is simply remarkable.

I believe we see this happening again with today’s Spurs. Dealing Kawhi, and pairing up Derozan with Aldridge gave them 2 All-Star caliber players to remain a steady playoff team. Even this year they took the 2 seed Nuggets to 7 games in the first round. But what I want to point out most importantly is that the Spurs are slowly developing one of the better young cores in the league. In the 2016 Draft, they drafted Washington point guard Dejounte Murray with the 29th overall pick. Murray has great defensive potential and seems like the perfect point guard to fit into the future of Pops system. Unfortunately he missed this year due to an ACL injury but is definitely someone to watch out for in the future.

The next year, the Spurs were dealt the same pick and with the 29th overall pick they drafted Derrick White. He averaged 18.1 ppg and shot 39% from three at Colorado. He showed great potential especially in the playoffs when he broke out and put up 36pts 5rebs 5ast with 3 steals and a block all we’ll shooting 15-for-21 in game 3 against the Nuggets. White said that he felt the game 2 loss was on him for allowing Jamaal Murray to score most of his 21 points in the 4th Quarter when White was guarding him. He wanted to bounce back for his team which he definitely did. I am excited to see what he can do in the future.

In the 2018 Draft, the Spurs took Lonnie Walker IV with the 18th overall pick out of Miami. Walker thrives when he has the ball in his hands and is one of the most skilled players when it comes to creating his own shot. He plays quickly all we’ll staying under control. With open space Walker has a versatile package where he can take the dribble pull up or the step back 3. This was proven in the summer league when he went off for 32 the other night.

This years draft I think the spurs got 2 steals and their second round pick might just make it 3. With pick 19 they took Luka Šamanić. He shot the 3 ball at 34% overseas and is crafty around the rim and with the ball as he possesses multiple ways to finish. Šamanić could end up being the perfect modern day stretch 4. Watch this to see Šamanić show off his handles a bit. (https://twitter.com/spurs )With the 29th pick the Spurs took Keldon Johnson from Kentucky. He has had great games this summer including 29pt and 19pt outings. Johnson has great defensive potential and a smooth stroke. He shoots the ball off catch and shoot very well and has soft touch around the rim. The modern day 3 and D player. The 2019 Draft is looking even better for the Spurs because the play out of their second round pick, Quinndary Weatherspoon(49th), has been very surprising this Summer. As a senior at Mississippi State, he shot 39.6% from 3 and scored at least 20 points in 16 games for the Bulldogs. He has a had a great Summer and the Spurs just recently signed him to a contract so look out for him in the future.

Oh yeah…guess what, they are still a playoff team. The question is can they keep up with all the dominance in the West this year? I think it is possible especially with a Derozan trade in the future. Having Dejounte Murray back from his ACL injury this year and hopefully getting a full season out of young stud Lonnie Walker IV, Pop might just work his magic and lead them to a 23rd straight playoff birth.

Do you guys think their young core is slept on?

Do you think drafting is mostly Pop or the front office? Both?

What are you most excited to see this year out of this team and what direction do you think they will go?

Curious to see your thoughts.

Why Kyrie leaving the Celtics can debatably be worse than when KD left the Thunder (Unpopular Opinion)

Kyrie Irving was nothing short of disappointing in round 2 against the bucks. Kyrie’s ultimate goal was to win a championship with his “own team”. This is what caused the feud between Kyrie and the Cavs. He wanted to take on the leadership role and establish his legacy as the #1 option on a championship team.

Kyrie went down and missed the playoffs last year and we were able to witness the breakout of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. We saw hints of a very solid young core in Boston (which very much still exists). Kyrie was asked before the season what his plans were for free agency. He responded by saying “this franchise is really built for the next few years of being at the top-tier of teams in the league. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? What more could you ask for from an organization to really elevate your game?” He was also quoted saying “If you will have me back, I plan on re-signing here”. This was before the season started. Kyrie saw the potential in the team with such young players showing hints of potential in the playoffs taking Lebron to game 7 even without Gordon Hayward and himself. But who wouldn’t be confident after the run they had.

After the Celtics struggled during the regular season. As we all know there was much drama between Lebron and Kyrie. Many suspect a reunion between the two in LA. Kyrie texted Lebron, apologizing for being young and immature and not understanding what it takes to be in Lebron’s position as a leader. This caused lots of Free Agency drama. When asked midseason about what he was gonna do. He said “I don’t owe anyone shit.” Clearly showing frustration with the team.

The main reason this can be worse than KD leaving is because of the series that Kyrie had.

Kyrie Irving Eastern Conference Semis shooting splints:

Game 2: 4/18 FG 1/5 3PT 9pts

Game 3: 8/22 FG 2/8 3PT 29pts

Game 4: 7/22 FG 1/7 3PT 23pts

Game 5: 6/21 FG 1/7 3PT 15pts

Although points may seem like he played well in games 3 and 4, this was because in game 3 he was 11/12 from the line and game 4 he was 8/9. To say the least, he underperformed in the second round.

But what makes this worse than KD leaving you may ask other then the terrible series performance and the promises he made before the season? As I mentioned earlier, many are suspect of him going to LA to team up with Lebron, but also going to NY to team up with KD. This completely contradicts the reason he wanted out of Cleveland. To have his own team. This will be a serious blow to his legacy as he failed to deliver as a leader and #1 scoring option. He ultimately bit off more than he can chew. KD had the goal of winning a championship no matter how he did it. Weather it was the #1 option or not, he wanted to secure his legacy as a winner. Which he has. Some may not agree but I believe he is the best player on the warriors team (especially this playoffs). He has taken anything BUT the backseat with the GSW winning 2 Finals MVPs. KD May have different beliefs now however than he did in the 2016 free agency.

Just to clarify, I am not a warriors fan. I was not for KD going to the warriors at all. This is an unbias opinion from a Bulls fan. I just believe that if Kyrie were to leave Boston after such a tragic series, his legacy will take a serious blow. Let me know your guys thoughts.

About me

My name is Victor Coustan. I am 17 years old, and a senior in high school. I am one of the biggest Chicago Bulls fans you will ever meet. Sometimes a little biased. Over the past year or two, I have become very interested in sports writing. I often find myself with too much to talk about so I decided rather than rambling to my mom about stuff that she knows nothing about, why not share it with the world? My dad was a sports writer for SB Nation and he inspired me to start my own blog. Since I lost my dad in June of 2015, I have tried to make him proud and carry on his legacy by doing the things that we shared and loved most. I hope you enjoy my writing and feel free to leave any feedback or argumentative opinions through the comments.