Make the Knicks Relevant Again

By Zach Harris, BBM Contributor

Well Knicks fans, it’s that time of the year again. A time where every NBA team, including the Knicks, has high hopes of a great season that leads to the playoffs. This year has a different feel to it compared to years past. This year will be the start of something new, something fresh, something not seen for over two decades. After years of terrible GMs, quick fixes, disappointing seasons, and James Dolan meddling, New York finally enter the offseason in rebuild mode. The Knicks will enter the 2018 season with a new GM (Scott Perry), a new head coach (David Fizdale), and a new culture. This year’s draft class is critical to the start of the rebuild.

Kevin Knox holds up his Knick's jersey (photo credit: James Escher)
With the ninth pick of the 2018 NBA draft the Knicks selected Kevin Knox, a 6’9” forward out of Kentucky. New York didn’t go the safe route in Mikal Bridges of Villanova, projected as a 3 and D contributor, but also didn’t take a riskier player in Michael Porter Jr. of Missouri, a player filled with talent but an injury ridden history. The Knicks found their player in Knox, a culture player with a high floor and tremendous upside. Knox comes from a Kentucky program ran by John Calipari, a coach who preaches a winning culture and team atmosphere. Knox averaged 15.6 points per game on 45% shooting and 5.4 rebounds per game in his one year at Kentucky. Knox has the talent to contribute right away, and with Porzingis out for most of the year with a torn ACL, he will have a great chance to showcase his talents while developing his skills. As a young 19-year-old raw talent, we will be able to enjoy his early success while knowing that he is probably two or three years away from being an all-star level talent. His NBA comparison is Tobias Harris/Jason Tatum.

With the 33rd pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, the Knicks selected Mitchell Robinson, a 6’11” center out of Western Kentucky. New York took a flyer on this pick, due to unknown circumstances. Robinson never played in college he opted to focus on maximizing his skills without playing college ball. Many teams shied away from the center due to the many unknowns, as Robinson didn’t partake in the NBA combine or schedule a private workout for any team. The Knicks were sold on his size, wingspan, his natural shot blocking ability, and his ability to stretch the floor on the offensive end. The best way to describe Robinson, who took a year off from competitive basketball, is that he is a year away from being a year away of playing solid minutes on an NBA team. The talent is there - no doubt - but time will tell if he can maximize his skills and find a role on the Knicks. His NBA comparison is Clint Capela/Hassan Whiteside.

The Knicks' rebuild all starts with the development of their 2018 picks as well as the young talent they already have on the roster. Truly the Kristaps Porzingis injury may be a blessing in disguise, as Fizdale and the rest of his staff will be able to develop players without the stress of being in a win-now mode. If Fizdale can develop his players and implement his system this year, it will put them in a great position for the future.

With young athletes, a new coach, KP coming back healthy, and 2019 cap space, we can reasonably expect New York to push for a playoff spot for years to come.

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