How To Fix The New York Knicks

via All-Pro Reels

via All-Pro Reels

Tarun Senthil Kumar, Writer

This past summer, the Knicks were finally supposed to reach the Promised Land, but they failed miserably. The Knicks have been the laughingstock of the NBA for the past twenty years. After seasons of overpaying for aging stars and missing on draft picks, there is still hope for the Knicks to become title contenders again.

The first and most critical step of the Knicks’ rebuild is to force James Dolan to sell the team. Though possibly one of the worst owners of a professional sports franchise ever, Dolan has owned the Knicks since 1999. Since then, New York has had 12 head coaches, 10 fifty-loss seasons, 7 last place finishes, and only 1 division title. The culture of the organization has been pathetic, especially Dolan’s disgraceful treatment of team legends and fans such as Charles Oakley and Spike Lee. If New York truly wants to rebuild, then they must free themselves from the proverbial black cat that is James Dolan.

The second step the Knicks need to take is finding a new Head Coach. They did just that two months ago with the hiring of Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau is the perfect man for the job as his coaching style, a no-nonsense and team-first attitude, is the embodiment of the 70’s and 90’s Knicks. The hiring of Thibodeau was great, but his success is contingent on the roster at his disposal.

The third step of the Knicks’ rebuild is to develop their young talent. Though their record may not show it, the Knicks have many promising young players on their roster. However, their unstable rotation has denied some of these players enough minutes to develop. The young talented Knicks players include RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, and Frank Ntilikina, while the young players they should offload for assets are Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Dennis Smith Jr., and Elfrid Payton. New York is slotted at the eighth pick in this year’s draft. Undoubtedly, they should trade up and draft generational prospect LaMelo Ball, a 6’8’’ point guard who possesses the entire offensive package as well as the tools to become a great defender.

The fourth step of the Knicks’ rebuild is to complete the roster with more firepower and veteran presence. Contrary to popular opinion, New York does not need to trade for Devin Booker or sign Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Knicks have a recent history of trading their stars to clear cap space for future free agents that do not end up coming (Porzingis). Although New York is a “big market,” they can still prioritize homegrown talent. In the 2020 offseason, they should target Serge Ibaka and Lauri Markkanen. In addition, the Knicks should resign Taj Gibson, Maurice Harkless, and Reggie Bullock to small deals. These five simple moves could make the Knicks contenders to make the playoffs in the East. In the 2021 offseason, they should target Jrue Holiday, a defensive guard with veteran leadership, via free agency. These moves would leave them with a starting five of Ball, Holiday, Barrett, Markkanen, and Robinson, and a bench of Ntilikina, Bullock, Harkless, Gibson, and Ibaka at the beginning of the 2021 season.

The fifth and final step of the Knicks’ rebuild is to re-establish their brand. The Knicks need to swallow their pride to fix their shattered image. With this proposed young core, Madison Square Garden would sell out every game for the next ten years. Furthermore, the allure of playing under the bright lights and organ notes in front of countless celebrities every night would attract free agents again. All in all, the Knicks have the potential to become a powerhouse basketball franchise once again.