Obligatory disclaimers about small sample size aside, every single personnel move that the Knicks made during their controversial offseason has worked out so far.Here’s what they did.
- Let Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields go
- Traded for Raymond Felton, Kurt Thomas, and Marcus Camby
- Signed Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, Pablo Prigioni, and Rasheed Wallace
- Re-signed JR Smith and Steve Novak
Felton, after being admittedly fat in Portland, has been excellent this year. His pick-and-roll action with Tyson Chandler has been on point from the start, and his ballhandling has helped the Knicks to the lowest turnover rate in the NBA.
Kidd has made an absurd 55% of his threes, and has been key in whipping passes around the perimeter when Carmelo Anthony passes out of the double team.
Brewer has scored more than people expected him too, in addition to his always reliable defence.
JR Smith might be the steal of the offseason. He signed for two years, $5.7 million, and he’s currently 18th in the entire league in PER.
Wallace is actually playing significant minutes, which no one really thought was possible this early in the year.
The two guys the Knicks let go are struggling as well. Lin can’t find a foothold in the Houston offence now that James Harden is running the show, and Fields had surgery on his hand this week.
So this means the Knicks had a super-smart offseason right?
Not exactly. Letting two young assets leave for nothing and replacing them with a mishmash of possibly-toast, out-of-shape veterans was an incredibly risky move that left the team in a horrible long-term position.
They couldn’t have predicted Felton was going to get in shape, or Smith was going to stop hitting the NYC clubs, or Kidd was going to be able to play so many minutes.
Just because the gamble appears to be working out doesn’t make it a smart bet.
But the Knicks do deserve credit for going all-in on a crazy plan to win now and worry about the long-term future later. The team decided that their window was closing, and they needed to assemble the pieces to make one last-ditch run before Carmelo and Amar’e began to really decline.
Without even knowing it, Jeremy Lin actually explained why the Knicks dumped him in an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski this week:
“[In New York] I would be the second- or third-youngest. And I would be in a position to have to lead with so much still to learn; with so much urgency for everything to happen now.”
The Knicks torpedoed their long-term future by betting that a bunch of veterans would have something left. It appears they do.
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