This of you who follow SportSmasher.com know that I am an unapologetic tortured New York Knicks fan, and Kristaps Porzingis development into an All-Star caliber player was the lone bright spot in another relatively ugly season, so the fact that he tore the ACL in his left knee last and will miss the remainder of the season really stings. Watching Porzingis night in and night out was the one joy Knicks fans had this season, sure they lost to the lowly Atlanta Hawks at home last Sunday, but at least we got to watch The Unicorn. It’s also a devastating injury because, a torn ACL is normally a nine to twelve month injury for a reasonably sized person, but how long does recovery take for a 7’3 basketball unicorn? Will Porzingis be ready at the star of the 2018-2019 season? Highly unlikely. So when will we realistically see Porzingis on the court? Christmas Day 2018? After the 2019 All-Star break? Will Porzingis use some sort of mythical unicorn healing powers and be ready for the season opener? Do unicorns heal faster?
We do not know those answers yet, and time will tell, so the question becomes what happens to the 2017-2018 Knicks? The current, extremely frustrating Knicks team, that just lost their best player by a mile for the remainder of the season?
I’ve got one word for you: Tank.
I’ve got two words for you: Tank hard.
The Knicks were not a good team this season WITH Kristaps Porzingis, they were competitive (some nights), and with a 23-32 record they are already 11th in the Eastern Conference.
With the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday, it’s time for the Knicks to hold a fire sale, any veteran who is not part of the future plans and makes the team more competitive now must go.
Shooting guard Courtney Lee is having one of his best NBA seasons, he is a good defender who contributes on offense, but he is 32-years-old and will be past his prime by the time these Knicks are ready to be good. The Knicks are getting calls, trade him to a playoff team.
We all love big man Kyle O’Quinn, he is a New York guy who has loved playing for the Knicks, he is a tough guy who reminds you of the days of Charles Oakley. Kyle O’Quinn brings energy off the bench, he is a strong rebounder and a big bodied defender, but he will soon be 28-years-old and is not part of the Knicks future. The Knicks are getting calls, trade him to a playoff team.
We all love what Enes Kanter has brought to the Knicks as a scorer and a rebounder, his defense is not as bad as advertised, he has been great this season. He plays hard every night, and he’s only 25-years-old, so he could be part of the Knicks future, but if a team calls with a trade offer I’m listening. A first round pick and/or a young player who has been buried in the bench but has potential? I’m listening.
Jarrett Jack has been nothing short of spectacular for the Knicks this season, considering he’s 34-years-old, but if you need a backup point guard he’s available.
Do you need a shooter off the bench? Doug McDermott is available. A defender off the bench? Want Lance Thomas? Instant offense for the second unit? We can throw in Michael Beasley? A vastly overpaid corpse that can no longer play basketball? Want Joakim Noah? Anyone? Please?
Honestly, all of those players should be available in the right deal, and I would not be surprised to see multiple of them packaged together in a trade to a playoff team.
If I’m running the Knicks, I even consider shutting down Tim Hardaway Jr, who was playing incredible basketball at the start of the season before suffering a stress injury to his lower leg. Get Hardaway 100% healthy for next season.
The rest of this season should be about two things now, the first developing rookie guard Frank Ntilikina, who is already an elite defender but at only 19-years-old needs minutes. While I’m at it keep and play Willy Hernangomez, he showed promise last season before riding the bench all season long, he’s got talent so let him develop and make him happy. The second thing this season should be about is losing as many basketball games as possible, the Knicks have 23 wins now, and I hope they finish the season with 23 wins.
The 2018 NBA Draft class is loaded, and what the Knicks need more than anything is another potential superstar, to pair with Kristaps Porzingis when he returns healthy and a seasoned Frank Ntilikina. That’s the future, that’s when the Knicks can realistically contend in the wake of this injury, 2019-2020 is what we should be looking forward to as fans. The Knicks should be looking to land a potential superstar at the top of the 2018 Draft, and with Porzingis missing likely half of next season, in the 2019 Draft as well.
So tank. And tank hard. Go get Knicks fans another young potential superstar. Go get DeAndre Ayton. Or Luka Doncic. Or Marvin Bagley III. Or Trae Young. Or Mohamed Bamba. Or Michael Porter Jr. That should be the only plan, landing another young potential superstar in the 2018 NBA Draft who we can love the way we love Porzingis, long suffering New York Knicks fans deserve it.
With this plan, the Knicks will have a fully healthy Kristaps Porzingis, a seasoned Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr, potentially a developed Willy Hernangomez, a top pick in the 2018 Draft and a top pick in the 2019 Draft ready to make noise in the East at the start of the 2019-2020 season. It’s the right plan, it’s the only plan, James Dolan and Steve Mills I’m available if you need my help enacting this plan. DM me on Twitter.