Knicks
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, President Leon Rose, and General Manager Scott Perry of the New York Knicks look on during the 2021 NBA Draft Combine on June 24, 2021, at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

How The Knicks Can Bolster Their Backcourt For The 2021 Season

The New York Knicks are in desperate need of guards. Last season they struggled to get consistent performances from guys like Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton, neither of whom would play so many minutes if New York had other options. With the most cap room in the NBA and three draft picks in the first 32 selections, the Knicks now have the flexibility to make a variety of moves to improve their roster. It is time to take a look at the most realistic ways this offseason could go down for them.

A Trade For Collin Sexton

Collin Sexton is available on the trade market and the Knicks are keeping a close eye on him. Over the past few days, rumors have surfaced that they will be the most aggressive pursuers of Sexton. With the Cavaliers owning the third pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, they may opt to move on from him, and they are likely more willing because Sexton is due for an extension at the end of this year. Obviously, it will be important to see how much the Knicks are willing to give up in a trade for the Cleveland guard. The following proposal has been floated throughout social media since the Sexton news broke:

Knicks Receive: Collin Sexton
Cavaliers Receive: Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, and a 2021 First Rounder (either the 19th pick or the 21st)

If I am the Knicks, I am accepting this trade on the spot. One of the biggest issues New York had in 2020-2021 was a lack of guys who could create offense outside of R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle, and Derrick Rose. Acquiring Sexton would solve this by giving them a competent scorer who averaged 24 per game this past season, and his contract would allow them to move on from him at the end of the season if he failed to fit with the team. Parting with Obi Toppin will not mean much if he continues playing off the bench under Randle. If the Cavs ask for anything more, however, New York should consider other options.

Signing Duncan Robinson

Another rumored move is for the Knicks to sign Duncan Robinson, who has fans in the Knicks organization. He is expected to get an offer sheet between 4 years for $72 million and 4 years for $80 million. Leon Rose and Scott Perry may believe that this is too big a price to pay, but Robinson would bring many intangibles to the team, and getting a guy that averaged 3.5 threes a game would allow for much more spacing offensively than the Knicks had previously.

Granted, the Knicks had the third-highest team 3pt% in the league last season, but they also ranked third-to-last in threes attempted. With that in mind, they could definitely use a high-volume 3-point shooter like Robinson. They just have to figure out if he is worth almost $20 million a year.

Using Their Picks

If the Knicks do not use their assets to trade for Sexton or another impactful guard, this route may be the most likely. As I have mentioned before, the 2021 draft is one of the deepest in recent memory, and it would not be too surprising if a player who could help New York win right away fell to 19 or 21. However, their best course of action would be to use these picks to get into the top 10.

With Tom Thibodeau as the head coach, it would not make sense to wait back and draft three players who will not be in the rotation anyway, so they should look at someone like James Bouknight or Davion Mitchell. In Bouknight, New York would get one of the best scorers in the draft who can also play the point guard position. Acquiring Mitchell may cost more considering he will probably go in the top 10, but many have said that he is the most NBA-ready prospect in this draft. The Baylor PG would fit very well within Thibodeau’s defensive-oriented scheme. He also has shown steady improvement in his jump shot and playmaking skills.

The draft could be a much better alternative in terms of acquiring guards for the Knicks this offseason. Deciding to forgo any big free agent moves would again give them the most money to spend in 2022 when the free agency class is more talented.

Knicks, No Need To Rush

For the first time in a long time, the Knicks are actually in a good situation. To rush it now in order to compete next season would be to give up on being relevant as soon as possible. The free agents this summer may be good enough to make them better, but they are not enough to make the Knicks contenders. Acquiring solid guards would be the first step to ensure superstars actually want to come to the Mecca of basketball. Fortunately, they can do this without sacrificing all their cap room and assets. What a time to be a Knicks fan.

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