What Does the Future Hold for Thibodeau’s Knicks?by Rephael Negnewitzky June 30, 2022 0 comments
The 2021 season was only a tease for Knicks fans as boos echoed throughout the Garden to culminate a dreadful campaign. New York fans were stunned by their hometown Knicks’ 41-31 season which landed them fourth in the Eastern Conference. This past season, the 2022 season, was only a relapse of their true below-average value. Finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference at 37-45 put a muzzle on the roaring crowds at home. Now, as free agency has taken effect, Tom Thibodeau and his staff have critical decisions to make. A big first step was shipping off Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel which unloaded $19 million to make room for potential free agents. The Knicks still have several gaps in their roster and the query only lingers as free agency begins. Who will the Knicks take interest in? What will the starting five look like?
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Jalen Brunson, Guard
Clearing $19 million in cap space was essential in order to acquire a stud like Brunson, an up-and-coming guard who thrived in his fourth season with the Mavericks. Now testing free agency, the Knicks are a likely landing spot for the 25-year-old guard. His aggression and ability to run the floor are well above average and could be the missing piece of the New York roster. He averaged 16.3 points per game, which was a vast improvement from his recent years. Shooting 37.3 percent from the arc as well as 4.8 assists per night, Brunson will be the hot topic over the next few days.
Tyus Jones, Guard
Another guard who the Knicks could potentially reel in is Jones. Considered average prior to the 2022 season was the motivation he needed to improve. With Ja Morant sidelined for a chunk of the year, Jones took his role to another level. His size is not much of a factor, yet the 26-year-old became a vital asset to Taylor Jenkins’ squad. In just 21 minutes per game, Jones dished out 4.4 assists while shooting 39 percent from the arc. The former first-round pick has enhanced his value and the Knicks could be the end result of his free agency.
While Mitchell Robinson is likely to re-sign, this would be the interim starting five. First and foremost, the Knicks are bashed for their slow-paced style and Thibodeau needs to revise his blueprint. Randle is typically the first to the ball on a possession, and while his contribution is crucial, his shot selection and inconsistency are nothing to dismiss. The up-and-coming duo of Barrett and Quickley have been essential components on both ends of the court, as well as the veteran touch of Fournier.
A secret ingredient to Thibodeau’s game plan is the key minutes off the bench. The experience of Gibson and Rose merges well with the younger players and provides a spark on the court. Toppin provides the energy and thrill to the crowd and has lived up to the hype. Additionally, Grimes and McBride have slowly caught the eye of Thibodeau and could receive a heavy workload in the season to come.
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Main Image Credit: via Wikibery