NBA Picks: How to Rebuild the New York Knicks? Where Do They Go From Here?

Kevin Stott

Friday, April 24, 2015 7:02 PM GMT

The New York Knicks will likely end up getting one of the top two picks in the NBA Draft in June, and with President Phil Jackson, at least have a guy who can set the organization in the right direction. But realistically, this team is far from being one which may soon be playing in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Introduction and What To Expect At Least For Now
When your Final Record on the Regular Season (17-65) leaves you tucked neatly between the Philadelphia 76ers (18-64) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (16-66)—as it did with this year’s New York Knicks—talks of Rebuilding with a capital ‘R’ best start with some real TNT or something stronger. Luckily for team President Phil Jackson and the Knickerbockers, New York could likely end up with either the #1 or (more likely) #2 pick in the coming NBA Draft on June 25 (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) in The Big Apple, meaning that this team will get a crack at being able to put a Really Big (6-11, 6-11) and a Really Talented college basketball player—either Kentucky C Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke C Jahil Okafor—on its rebuilt roster and possibly even into their Starting 5 for the 2015/2016 NBA Season. But, what else does this storied franchise decide to do? Do they make a serious run at Portland Trail Blazers Free Agent LaMarcus Aldridge? New York doesn’t have a pick in Round 2 of the NBA Draft—the Knicks dealt it to the Houston Rockets—so the team will have to rely heavily on Free Agency in this potential rebuild, and Jackson said as much in a recent interview: “A lot of our direction is about free agency.” And New York has approximately $26 million in Salary Cap Space with which to work in the coming months—not counting any money used for the club’s coming Round 1 pick—so at least former Knicks player and NBA Head Coaching legend Jackson, General Manager Steve Mills and current Head Coach Derek Fisher can offer up some needed Rays Of Hope to the rabid but extremely loyal New York Knicks fanbase and team owner James Dolan and his [The] Madison Square Garden Company.

The two immediate big concerns for the Knicks (33-46-3 ATS in 2015) are getting their only real star, Carmelo Anthony back and near 100% healthy from Knee Surgery to theoretically build around (at least for now) and who they take with their (lone) selection near the top of the NBA Draft—as Jackson has sort of pooh-poohed any idea of actually trading the valuable Pick. And getting either Towns—who Jackson has said he’d prefer because of his strengths on the Defensive end of the hardwood—or Jahlil Okafor could be quite the coup for this team which will be rebuilding for at least the next couple of years. And, according to Jackson, the Triangle Offense is here to stay for New York (16-25 ATS, Home, 17-21-3 ATS, Away) which may yet again have to blow up its roster this spring and summer like it did smack dab in the middle of the 2014/2015 Regular Season. And this team may have to continue blowing up its roster as long as its fans are still sadly longing for even the Not-So-Glorious-Days Of Punched Fire Extinguishers to return to Madison Square Garden. But at least Knicks President Jackson is rational about the whole process, recently saying he would like to see the Knicks win total improve by a realistic 25 games next season. We shall see.

 

2015 New York Knicks Closing Roster and Depth Chart
C—Andrea Bargnani (14.8. ppg, 4.4 rpg)

PF—Lou Amundson (6.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg)

SF—Carmelo Anthony ? (24.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.1 apg)

SG—Langston Galloway (11.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.3 apg)

PG—José Calderón (9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.7 apg)

 

New York Knicks Closing Bench, Roster Depth
C—Cole Aldrich (5.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg)

PF—Jason Smith (8.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

SF—Cleanthony Early (5.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg)

SG—Tim Hardaway, Jr. (11.52 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.3 apg)

PG—Shane Larkin (6.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.0 apg)

PF—Quincy Acy (5.9 ppg, 4.4 apg)

PF—Travis Wear (3.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg)

SF—Lance Thomas (8.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

SG—Alexey Shved (14.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg)

SG—Ricky Leto (7.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg)

 

My Dream Rebuilding Checklist For the New York Knicks
1—Draft Karl Anthony or Jahil Okafor (Will happen)

2—Trade Carmelo Anthony for Good Parts (Won’t happen)

3—Replace Head Coach Derek Fisher (Won’t happen)

4—Employ Another Roster Overhaul (Will happen)

5—Obtain a Solid Starting SG, Preferably Raptors Lou Williams (?)

6—Spray Fanbase With Magical Chill-For-A-Little-Bit-Bruh Potion (Won’t happen, illegal)

 

Dream Realistic Starting Lineup For Rebuilt New York Knicks
C—Andrea Bargnani

PF—Karl-Anthony Towns ? [R] (via NBA Draft)

SF—Carmelo Anthony ? (24.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.1 apg)

SG—Lou Williams (via Free Agency)

PG—José Calderón (9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.7 apg)

 

Conclusions and Some Reality Because Reality Still Matters
The big problem it seems for now, is that the Knickerbockers appear so intent on building around their one superstar, Carmelo Anthony, and in my opinion, his selfishness and attitude when times are bad is just too weak a foundation from which to assemble a winning NBA basketball team around at this particular point in time when former teams New York scoffed at, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies are all NBA Playoffs teams right now while all still fairly early in their own, long-term Rebuilding Plans for their own respective teams. The current NBA is just too good, too deep and has too many other teams in better position than the Knicks to have a winning team next season, and for seasons to come after that. At its current state, this team is nowhere close to being a .500 club—especially with the way they looked (and cared) during the 2015 NBA Regular Season. But this New York Knicks team do actually have the brainpower, money and talent to rebuild and with an extremely loving and loyal fan base as well as genius Jackson as General Manager and that golden (likely) #2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, there is definitely some reason for some Hope here. But NBA odds makers know that probably the biggest somewhat hidden blessing this team really has in terms of Their Somewhat Immediate NBA Future is that their address is in the league’s Eastern Conference, where one .500 club (Milwaukee Bucks) and a pair of sub-.500 teams (Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets) made the postseason, so at least maybe getting a little taste the NBA Playoffs—and then getting quickly bounced back home again—will help New York remember what it’s like to have a winning professional basketball team. But when you finish a season 10-31 at Home in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden, just 7-34 Away, and a pathetic 11-41 against your own conference, aiming to employ a 4- to 6-year Rebuilding Plan would seem much wiser for the Knicks at This Point In Time than a quick-fix 2-year one as other teams in the Eastern Conference like the aforementioned Cavaliers and LeBron James, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks are all in their own Rebuilding Phases yet have deep and talented rosters and some current hopes of actually winning an NBA Championship in the near future.

For the Knicks, there simply seems to be much work to do right now, and Jackson as it looks as if the organization isn’t willing to wheel-and-deal Carmelo Anthony and some other components for another superstar and some possible Quick Fixes for the 2015/2016 NBA Season, then New York Knicks fans are just going to have to continue to do what they have been doing for a little too long now: Hoping, talking, watching and waiting. And they will sadly continue to wait. And that’s not cool because the Eastern Conference and the NBA as a whole is a better product when the Knicks are a good basketball team. And aiming to get that adjective ‘good’ in front of whatever you are takes a great deal of Time, Change and Thought, and luckily for this organization, they do have Jackson running the show in the Big Apple, but man does this team need a lot of work done on it to begin being considered when making NBA picks. Maybe drafting Towns or Okafor and signing a solid Free Agent like Lou Williams is the perfect starting point.

PROJECTED FIRST ROUND NBA DRAFT PICK: Jahil Okafor, C/PF, Duke