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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

What if…the Knicks trade down for additional picks, stockpile young talent, and embrace a competent rebuilding strategy…for a while anyway.

With the order of the draft being settled, the writers of KnickerBlogger thought we’d go over the possible outcomes. But since we were whipping out the ol’ Crystal Ball, we decided to go a little past June & see what fate possibly has to offer…

 

2015 Draft Order

1 MIN Karl-Anthony Towns

2 LAL Jahlil Okafor

3 PHI D’Angelo Russell

4 NYK Emmanuel Mudiay (Traded to Atlanta)

What Happened on Draft Day 2015

About 45 minutes after the Knicks selected Mudiay, Stephen A. Smith broke the news on Twitter:

StevenATweet

 

And Twitter had fun with it.

Gods_2

 

Once it was clear that neither of the two best big men in the draft would fall to 4, that the fantasy of Towns forcing his way to NYC was just a lovely fantasy, and that the Lakers brass still despised Jackson too much to accept any offer to swap picks, the Knicks traded down.  The new ownership group in Atlanta proved to be a willing partner as they wanted to maintain the momentum of the previous season and show the fans they were committed to improving the team with the East’s best record last season.

Bobby Portis provides the Knicks a stretch four prospect who plays great perimeter defense but doesn’t do much around the rim.   In the second round, Jackson nabbed power forward Cliff Alexander of UTEP at 50 and NCAA scoring leader Tyler Harvey at 59.

Jackson explained the moves thusly: “Clearly this team needs to add players.  Help is needed at every position. Bringing in several young players instead of just one is what we need to do here.  We brought in three players that we think can make this roster and since they are on rookie deals they won’t harm what we want to do in free agency.  Right now the plan is to get them ready for the summer and find the right free agents to fit in around them.”

What will be written on draft day 2018

Just as they did on draft day 2015, the Knicks will add the 15th overall pick to their roster. No chance of sliding down in the lottery again with the team making the playoffs for the first time since 2013. It was a short but fun trip with the Knicks losing 4-1 to the eventual NBA champion Washington Wizards.

With the 15th Pick, the Knicks will be on the hunt for a defensive center or power forward to do the work Monroe is unable to do.  And as it happened in 2015, the best two players will go in the top 3 picks.  After three seasons of analysis, Monroe has done nothing to show he was worth a max deal (as most of us knew).  He hasn’t protected the rim (0.5 blocks per 36 minutes) and he hasn’t rebounded (6.7 defensive rebounds per 36).  In fact, the best defense we saw from him was what he said about keeping Coach Fisher just two games before he was fired last season.  When Monroe was signed, Jackson called him “A real force inside.”  Well unless Jackson was talking about unforced turnovers (16.5 TOV%) and forcing bad shots (.489 TS%), there is little force in his game at all.  Sigh. Just two seasons more to go.

In his first year as head coach, Jeff Hornacek did a wonderful job playing to New York’s offensive strengths.  All but abandoning the triangle, Hornacek sought to spread the floor and take advantage of Tyler Harvey’s continued improvement as a scorer.  Portis completed his best season as a pro.  He has grown into a very good perimeter defender and gave Beal fits for the series.  He is now a legit threat beyond the three point line and when paired with Melo, the floor spacing is really opens things up for Harvey to get to the rim.   Unfortunately Melo’s minute restrictions don’t keep him on the floor for long stretches, and Melo does little more than catch and shoot these days.  The good news is that Caris LaVert looks ready to step in once Melo’s contract expires next season.

With the exception of a few veteran pickups, Jackson has bought into the youth movement rebuilding process.  Perhaps the disappointing play of Monroe taught Jackson a lesson about how to improve a team.  Even when the Knicks did move young players, they did so to get younger. Hardaway and Alexander for a 2017 first round pick was good example (Thank you Milwaukee.)

The Knicks will use their two second round picks (39 and 47) to look for players who can develop over time as they have done in the past.  It is harder to find good talent in the second round but at least betting wrong on a later draft pick leaves you with the flexibility to correct your mistake cheaply like we did with Hardaway.  Sometimes 2nd rounders work out (Harvey is an undeniable steal). And I know most of you didn’t like the pick, but when Furkan Korkmaz does come to the U.S. (his reps say he is leaning heavily toward the NBA next season) he could be a contributor.  And by then we should be all out of Furkan jokes. Even though they are really Furkan funny.

The Knicks have spent three years building a roster of young exciting talent to distract us from Monroe and Melo. If the team can keep developing, and get one more prospect to work out, they could be the right free agent away from being a dangerous team.  Melo’s contract expires in 2019 and there is a good crop of free agents to be had.  If Jackson could unload Monroe’s contract without bringing back a longer deal, the Knicks could afford two of the top free agents as New York Times columnist Robert Silverman suggests.

Jackson has hinted at retirement at the close of his five year deal.  No word from MSG on who might serve as his successor.  But if the Liberty win a second straight title this summer, Isiah Thomas will get strong consideration.

Yeah, Isiah FURKAN Thomas.

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76 comments on “What if…the Knicks trade down for additional picks, stockpile young talent, and embrace a competent rebuilding strategy…for a while anyway.

  1. Donnie Walsh

    Wait, the Knicks trade the #4 for the #15 and 3 2nd rounders? That’s a worse return than the Chandler trade.

  2. Thomas B. Post author

    Did I not mention that Schroder had to have his knee scoped on June 24 and the docs found he needed microfracture surgery?

  3. DRed

    I was all “.5 blocks per 36 minutes is ridiculously negative, even for Knickerblogger” and then I looked at Greg Monroe’s career numbers.

    :(

    Sadface.

  4. DRed

    btw, who volunteered to write the “What if. . .DRed was named GM in 2016″ article?

  5. Z

    I imagine that if the Knicks were interested in trading the #4 for Bobby Portis or someone in that range and 2nd rounders that a better deal could be worked out with Boston. They have, literally, dozens of picks stockpiled, including 9 2nd rounders between now and 2017. And the Nets’ 2016, 2017, and 2018 picks, all of which, feasibly, could be the #1 overall pick (the Nets are going to be horrible during those years with no chance of rebuilding).

    The Celtics pretty much need to package their picks based on sheer roster space alone.

    So, yeah, this Atlanta trade is pretty horrible. (But possible, of course! #lolknicks)

  6. GoNyGoNYGo

    Worst possible scenario. 2nd round picks have little or no value.

    Trading #4 would require a return of a rotation player plus a 1st round pick between 5-15. Otherwise, stick with #4.

  7. BRIGGS

    I would do something like this

    A Knicks trade pick #4 (If Okafor wasnt there) Knicks get 7 16 and 28

    B Denver gets pick 32 and Marcus Smart

    C Boston gets pick #4

  8. jkhar

    Speaking of second round, has anyone been keeping track of last years second round stash…Louis Labeyrie??

  9. er

    I have no clue why anyone wants to trade the 4. You swing for the fences and build around it. No pick next year hurts

  10. Frank

    yeah the only reason to trade 4 is to get a high quality young player on a rookie contract PLUS a pick either this year or next year. And not a 2nd round pick – only 1st.

  11. er

    Hopefully he would come next year in lieu of us having a 2016 Pick and hope fully Greek Freak II can develop a little this year.

  12. GoNyGoNYGo

    Frank and ER – 100% agreement. I would need to be overwhelmed to give up the #4.
    I hope Thansis is ready and if Layberie emerges that would be amazing.

  13. Thomas B. Post author

    So the thing about these “What if” articles is that we just look into a crystal ball. We don’t come up with what we would like, or what should happen. I just closed my eyes and this was the first thing that came to me (traded down with a team that had multiple picks that wasn’t also a division rival). I didn’t love it, but I went with it and tried to make sense of it best I could. This is what I’ve done with this team since about 2000.

    So no, this was not my audition reel for a GM position. This was me, a long suffering fan, taking everything I know about how this team is run and the decisions this team makes and wondering how things could go.

    Would I like the Lakers to swap picks with us? Of course. Do I think our head office can pull that off with the assets we have? Nope. Would I like us to keep the pick and take the best player available? Yes. Has that story already been told by more talented writers here? Yes.

    So I had some fun with the idea of stockpiling draft picks (a good way to go) but doing it in the Knicksiest way I could imagine (selling the 4th for 3 magic beans).

    I am merely a conduit for the visions of the future.

  14. Frank

    You kn0w – I think I’ve heard just about enough from JR Smith about being discarded, disrespected, whatever. JR disrespected his teammates, organization, and city by being (by his own admission) not fully committed to the team. We gave him an undeserved 4 year contract, signed his brother, and then had to suffer through his suspensions and generalized lack of professionalism. And now here he is acting like it was an injustice to him to be thrown in to a trade. just sickening.

  15. er

    yeah im starting to lose any of the little rooting interest i have in him. I used to like him more than Shump but its not close now the other way.

  16. Thomas B. Post author

    I was all “.5 blocks per 36 minutes is ridiculously negative, even for Knickerblogger” and then I looked at Greg Monroe’s career numbers.

    It was the one bit of research I did before I starting writing. I was shocked at how close my numbers were to career stats.

  17. Zanzibar

    I was all “.5 blocks per 36 minutes is ridiculously negative, even for Knickerblogger” and then I looked at Greg Monroe’s career number

    It was the one bit of research I did before I starting writing.

    No need to research. Just remember this: Big Butts Bound … Ectomorphs Elevate.
    Monroe’s shot blocking is at least a lot better than Zach Randolph’s.

  18. Kevin Udwary

    In Monroe’s defense, his worst TS% was a Meloesque 53%. And at least he has been a consistently solid rebounder, and that’s playing along side Drummond. If you look at his splits for this season, without Drummond on the floor, he has a 20.4 TRB%, and a 0.58 TS%. That’s for just over 1000 minutes, so not a tiny sample. If we were to sign him to a $15mil a year deal, I would shrug my shoulders. He’ll likely perform close to that contract, once the cap goes up, and there is some potential that he will outperform it.

  19. DRed

    So find that juicy double
    P-Jax’s in trouble
    Beggin for a piece of that bubble
    So I’m lookin’ at dx videos
    Knockin these euros walkin like hoes
    You can have them euros
    I’ll keep my players like D-Bo

  20. Brian Cronin

    It is just too hilarious for the Cavs to win the title without Love for it not to happen, so I’m predicting a Cavs win in the Finals.

  21. Zanzibar

    Am I the only one who thinks WCS’ floor may be lower than we all think? Somehow I worry about the Bargs-like intangibles (work ethic, focus, attitude) since imo he should have better stats at his age given his talent. Fade to future vision…

    It’s 10pm, the night of a day game in LA, the 5th straight Knick loss to start the season. A weary Phil enters the locker room, hears some grunting in the showers and is shocked to find Jeannie and Shved. The two dash out as Phil clears his fogged glasses. He notices some smoke wafting across the darkened room as he inhales an unmistakable scent. He approaches the source and there is WCS. Bummer Boss as he hands Phil a doobie and puts on some reggae music. Phil bawls: My life is ruined, my reputation’s already in the toilet, Melo re-injured his knee in the 3rd game, the only free agent I could sign was Luigi Datome, my sweetheart is cheating on me… Just then his phone rings. It’s Jeannie. If Phil agrees not to go public, she will give him Towns and Randle using the trade exceptions he forgot to renounce. She’ll also take Melo off his hands. Phil’s spirit starts to brighten but then Jeannie continues he may have all that in exchange for Alexey. Phil turns livid, tells her to stick her proposal where the LA sun don’t shine, and fires up Twitter. WCS grabs his wrist and says Not Twitter Boss. Phil acknowledges and calls Isola. Five minutes later, Dolan races to locker room knowing Phil’s whereabouts because he required him to wear a GPS tracker as a condition of the contract. Dolan is apoplectic, rambling incoherently, and says he’s calling Isiah. Knowing he’s got Isiah on speed dial, WCS leaps to grab Dolan’s wrist with explosive speed and agility heretofore not shown in regular season. Not now Boss, Phil needs us. WCS puts on some BB King and, after a couple of hours, the troika sets out for a midnight ATV desert ride…cont’d

  22. Zanzibar

    Tragedy strikes as Phil and JD perish in an accident while WCS survives and delivers a powerful moving eulogy in which he recounts how Phil and JD opened up and spilled their guts and innermost secrets in that locker room. Especially moved (and concerned) was Dolan’s son who sadly went on to prove the immutable Paris Hilton truth that incompetence increases the further away from the original moneymaker you get. WCS goes on to have a long Knick career following in the footsteps of Herb Williams.

  23. Z-man

    Willie’s a scary looking dude. He reminds me of this other Willie…

    https://www.google.com/search?q=ghost+willie&tbm=isch&imgil=fjWkrPnX577F8M%253A%253BoYNE3305TY3U6M%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fen.wikipedia.org%25252Fwiki%25252FRick_Aviles&source=iu&pf=m&fir=fjWkrPnX577F8M%253A%252CoYNE3305TY3U6M%252C_&usg=__IUPkhMJQeBWpbFCcIJm4J56_1y8%3D&biw=1366&bih=594&ved=0CDUQyjc&ei=RdFwVanHCceHyASj_4DACw#imgrc=fjWkrPnX577F8M%253A%3BoYNE3305TY3U6M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fupload.wikimedia.org%252Fwikipedia%252Fen%252Fthumb%252F7%252F7a%252FRick_Aviles.jpg%252F220px-Rick_Aviles.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fen.wikipedia.org%252Fwiki%252FRick_Aviles%3B220%3B165

  24. DRed

    this is from today’s chat with Chad Ford. Trigger warnings: contains discussion of trading pick for vet; contains phrase “won’t rebuild”

    Chad Ford (1:18 PM)

    Well that about sums it up. As I wrote in my Mock Draft 6.0 on Tuesday, the Knicks are looking hard at both WCS and Winslow at 4. WCS has, especially, drawn support in the front office of late and might be the choice if Okafor, Towns and Russell are all off the board. And trade has and will likely be the first option if they can land a young All-Star caliber vet with the pick here. Phil Jackson won’t rebuild if he doesn’t have to.

  25. bockadoo

    Melo and the #4 to LA for J. Hill, J. Lin, J.Randle, the #2 and next year’s Lakers first rounder. The $ works per ESPN trade machine and the franchise gets financial flexibility two years earlier and we get a pick next year. We’d suck bad for a year or two but at least a rainbow would be in sight.

  26. thenoblefacehumper

    Melo and the #4 to LA for J. Hill, J. Lin, J.Randle, the #2 and next year’s Lakers first rounder. The $ works per ESPN trade machine and the franchise gets financial flexibility two years earlier and we get a pick next year. We’d suck bad for a year or two but at least a rainbow would be in sight.

    Unfortunately outside the confines of the trade machine, the Lakers would actually have to agree to this.

  27. Donnie Walsh

    Unfortunately outside the confines of the trade machine, the Lakers would actually have to agree to this.

    …and Philadelphia would have to agree to it too.

  28. bockadoo

    oops. ok forget next year’s first rounder. just want to undo that franchise crippling contract. we should either go for it now – which is what we have to do if we keep Melo, or get rid of him and start over. it can’t be in between.

  29. stratomatic

    And trade has and will likely be the first option if they can land a young All-Star caliber vet with the pick here. Phil Jackson won’t rebuild if he doesn’t have to.

    If he does this, then we know he’s flat out incompetent unless that player is on a rookie contract for next year. At that point I won’t feel guilty for calling for his head. It’s way too soon now. First we have to see what he does with the cap space he accumulated giving players away.

  30. max fisher-cohen

    If you were gonna trade the pick and keep Melo, the best deal would be to go out and get a lot of guys on rookie contracts. Trade it to boston for like Sullinger, Zeller, Isaiah Thomas and the 16th pick. Boom, the Knicks are instantly good enough to win a round in the playoffs. Maybe htey can even get Boston to take back Calderon, in which case they’d only lose like $6m in cap space while adding 2-3 rotation players (counting the loss of Calderon).

    It’s not a path to the finals, but it’s a team that’s good enough that Phil can pretend he’s done the right thing, and no one will call him on it.

  31. KJG

    Bottom line. It has to hurt a little bit to watch two former “marginal” players start for an NBA championship contending team…marginal in quotes for obvious reasons. And don’t forget about the guy on the bench. It’s one thing to talk about it leading up to the finals but then to see it happen in the flesh. We….phucking ….suck

  32. DRed

    Shump and JR are the same players they were with the Knicks. They just have much better teammates.

  33. bockadoo

    If that’s the case then Phil made an idiotic trade. Two contributing rotation players on a team in the finals for 2nd rounders that have little chance to make the league. Brutally bad.

  34. KJG

    Fine… of course they are the same All is fine… mozgov .. Shrimp… JR. They are what they are… It sure is telling about the New York knick organization and our superstar…

  35. KJG

    I think it’s more like… the Knicks suck and anyone worth anything will never play for this franchise until the entire operation turns over, top down…. We’ll never get them or we’ll get rid of em quick…. The Knicks are analogous to buying real estate in 2006… Overpay… And sell at a nice loss…. Just like I’m about to do with my home. Yay

  36. Kahnzy

    I can’t believe I’m gonna have to listen to Mark “hand down, man down” Jackson for the entire Finals.

    Fi-re Jack-son! Fi-re Jack-son! Fi-re Jack-son!

  37. d-mar

    If that’s the case then Phil made an idiotic trade. Two contributing rotation players on a team in the finals for 2nd rounders that have little chance to make the league. Brutally bad

    There’s a long list of NBA players that can do what JR and Shump do. They are easily replaceable.

  38. Kahnzy

    This just in courtesy of Mark “mama, there goes that man” Jackson: Iso-heavy offenses are the best for generating quality, highly efficient shots.

    I sincerely wonder if he was confused as to why he was fired.

  39. d-mar

    I sincerely wonder if he was confused as to why he was fired.

    In the words of Mark Jackson, if you’re Mark Jackson, you know why you were fired

  40. JK47

    Iguodala forces LeBron into the low-percentage hero ball shot there. Could be a huge moment of the series if GS wins this.

  41. Kahnzy

    In retrospect, I should not have bet that guy at work that I’d shave my eyebrows if GS lost.

  42. bidiong

    If Cleveland loses they will definitely regret it. I’m sure the Warriors have a lot of jitters tonight. The Cavs at least have LeBron as their leader. JR Smith looking like shit now though.

  43. d-mar

    I wish we still had Mozgov, but will never lose any sleep over trading JR and Shump for 2nd rounders

  44. bidiong

    Cleveland is out of juice. They’re also going to find out that you can’t rely on JR to be good JR when it counts most.

  45. Farfa

    So happy Cleveland lost.

    Sorry but I can’t endure another LeBron victory, like, ever. So I’m ok if he makes the Finals for the next three years (and I think he will. The East is so damn pathetic, and the only really good team with a superstar other than the Cavs is coached by freaking Randy Wittman, unless the Bulls find some coaching gem and don’t mess around, which is sure to happen anyway given Reinsdorf’s track record), but only if he loses everytime.

  46. Brian Cronin

    Last night made it pretty clear, though, that Cleveland will be very much in this series. This is not some David vs. Goliath situation.

  47. bockadoo

    @66 – Shump is worth more than a second rounder. JR is not worth a second grader. Getting JR outta here cost us Shump. JR really screwed us. Not that Shump is great, but in a competently run organization he is a solid contributor. The odds of a second rounder being that are remote. Then again, is Shump worth the contract he’s gonna be asking for…

  48. johnno

    “Shump is worth more than a second rounder.”
    If he had a year and a half left on a cheap rookie contract, probably. With less than half a season left on his rookie deal, probably not.
    “Then again, is Shump worth the contract he’s gonna be asking for…”
    No.
    “JR really screwed us.”
    I love how he feels “insulted” that the Knicks discarded him. If he hadn’t been such a knucklehead, the Knicks wouldn’t have had to bribe someone to take him off their hands. This is reason enough for me to be rooting hard for the Warriors.

  49. Brian Cronin

    JR is a dummy, no doubt about it. But at the same time, I think it’s fair enough for a player to feel bad that their team gave away another good player just to rid themselves of you. You shouldn’t go on and on and on about it, of course, but the initial feeling of “Wow, they must really hate me. That makes me sad” I think is fair enough.

  50. Farfa

    Without Kyrie the Cavs have no chance, sadly

    Yup and that’s a shame anyway. I want some good basketball (and the Warriors to win), not some ridiculous blowout/bloodshed like the 2007 Finals.

    Game 1 pretty much delivered everything I wanted from it. If Kyrie is out, I can see the Cavs hanging tough for most of Game 3 but losing, and then rolling over in Game 4. In this scenario Game 2 should be a formality for GSW.

  51. thenamestsam

    Yeah Cleveland basically got exactly the kind of game they wanted, except they still managed to lose and Kyrie got (more) hurt. That was an amazing game last night, but there’s no chance at this point the series is going long. I would be legitimately shocked if there was a game 6.

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