New York Knicks President Phil Jackson has once again surprised the angry and confused Knicks fans of the world. The Knicks have completely revamped their roster, and this time, it might make sense. Only five players remain on today's roster compared to last season. Here is a look at the 2016-'17 New York Knicks depth chart:
If only this happened like four years ago, then this team would be a legitimate contender. Still this should be an above .500 team that will give Knicks fans a competitive brand of basketball, something that has not been a reality for over a decade. Let's break down some of the key acquisitions that made this possible.
The name that jumps out at everyone immediately is Derrick Rose. I won’t go into too much detail on Rose, because you should have already read that here. However, it is worth noting that if Rose is healthy, he will be the best point guard on the Knicks this millennium, regardless of the fact that he will never return to his MVP level. Also, Rose has only one year left on his contract for $21 million, so if he happens to blow out his knee the first game of the season, the Knicks can choose to not resign him and have $21 million off the books for next summer.
Joakim Noah is not only a New York native, but he defines New York basketball. Noah has remained a relevant player in this league due to his work ethic, his energy and his toughness. Noah is a guy who enjoys playing defense, which is rare in this league. He is a great passer at his position to boot, proven by 7 career triple doubles, a statistic unheard of from a defensive minded center with limited offensive capabilities.
The issue with this signing is that the Knicks have committed four years to Noah, and he is coming off the worst season of his career playing 29 games and averaging 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds. Still, with plenty of time to shake off his terrible shoulder injury, the former Defensive Player of the Year should be back in tip top shape and competing for his hometown Knicks.
This is definitely the best move of Phil Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks, not only because Courtney Lee fits ‘Melo, Porzingis and Rose so well, but because he’s the perfect triangle role player. Lee would have been a perfect fit on the 90’s Bulls or the 2000’s Lakers (so was Sasha Vujacic apparently, so I don’t know how accurate this theory is).
Courtney Lee is a three point specialist who is also an above average defender. He was always known as a three point threat, but he picked up his defensive tendencies in Memphis under coach Dave Joerger. Lee is such a great signing for the Knicks due to the spacing he is going to give everyone. He is a 38% career 3-point shooter, meaning the defense has to honor his shot.
Unlike J.R. Smith, Courtney Lee is tremendous away from the ball. With ‘Melo, Porzingis and Rose all on the same team, there will be enough isolations to go around. Courtney Lee is a very decisive offensive player who will either shoot or pass. When he puts the ball on the floor, he does it with a purpose. If you enjoy criticizing ‘Melo and J.R. Smith for their “ball stopping” tendencies, then Courtney Lee will be a very refreshing player.
If you happen to miss J.R. Smith, this is the closest thing you are going to get. Brandon Jennings has been an enigma throughout his NBA career. Poor shot selection, lazy defense, and bad passing have been a common theme among Jennings’ critics. Jennings is clearly a skilled player. In his rookie season, he scored 55 points on fellow rookie Stephen Curry.
The Knicks signed Jennings to a 1 year $5 million deal, which is a steal in a market where Timofey Mozgov signed for 4 years, $64 million. Jennings is trying to prove his health, after a terrible achilles injury, and his worth for a team. Given that Jennings is in a contract year, we should see a great heat check option who can bring scoring in bunches off the bench, something the Knicks needed desperately last season. If he happens to suck, then he’s gone next year.
It seems that the Knicks have been at a point where their offseason is consistently more exciting than their regular season. If the Knicks can stay relatively healthy throughout this upcoming season, this trend should not continue. A healthy roster should resemble a playoff squad.