• Ryan Buchanan

What the Knicks are Working With Nowadays


*Photo via Getty Images

The 2015-16 New York Knicks’ Roster Overview

Though the New York Knicks were unable to grab any of their top three choices in the NBA DRAFT, nor any superstars in free agency, the team had an adequate offseason. They strangely looked like a normal NBA team by making the smart pick in the draft and building a team in free agency with solid players. Here’s an overview of the moves that Phil Jackson, Steve Mills and company made to try and reboot the Knicks.

Jose Calderon, PG

Calderon is a veteran point guard with an ample understanding of basketball elements. Among these elements are spacing, three-point shooting, and general orchestration of an offense. In regards to the triangle offense, he offered Knicks’ fans a faint glimmer of hope, as he was surprisingly efficient running the triangle towards the end of the year. The main issues with Calderon are that he appears to be aging, fragile, and injury prone at this stage of his career. He’s in the third year of a four-year contract, making $7.4M this year.

Projected: 52 G, 28 MPG, 10 PPG, 2 RPG, 6 APG

Jerian Grant, PG/SG

Grant is a rookie combo guard with the IQ and facilitating ability of a point guard and the size of a shooting guard. Unlike many of his peers who were drafted this year, he’s ready to contribute to the Knicks as he played four years at Notre Dame. He was drafted by the Wizards with this year’s 19th overall pick and traded to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway, Jr., which could end up being THE move of the draft. He will be on a 4-year rookie contract, of which terms have not been finalized yet.

Projected: 78 G, 30 MPG, 12 PPG, 4 RPG, 5 APG, 1.5 SPG

Langston Galloway, PG/SG (Partially Guaranteed)

Galloway is a second year player who came into the league as an undrafted rookie. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second team and is the first undrafted Knick to make an all-rookie team. He specializes in making plays on penetration, and defensively with his hands. His biggest downfalls are that he is a streaky shooter and he has a shooting guard’s game but he only stands 6’2”. He is currently riding a 2-year contract, which adds up to a little over $2M for the two years.

Projected: 64 G, 18 MPG, 8 PPG, 3 RPG, 3 APG, 1.0 SPG

Arron Afflalo, SG

Afflalo is the second-most notable free agent acquisition the Knicks made this offseason. He’s heading into his ninth season as a prototypical shooting guard in the NBA. Offensively, mid-range shooting is Afflalo’s forte. On top of his ability to shoot, he has been praised for his ability to defend. That’s what the Knicks brought him here for, and he won’t be expected to average 18 points per game like he did with the Orlando Magic a couple years ago. He will be making $8M this year and will have the option to make the same amount next year, or test free agency.

Projected: 52 G, 28 MPG, 14 PPG, 1 RPG, 2 APG, (injury at some point)

Ricky Ledo, SG/SF (Partially Guaranteed)

Ledo is struggling to find his spot in the league. With a few D-League stints and ten-day contracts under his belt, he’s looking to earn a spot on the Knicks next year. He has a gifted ability to score that complements his 6’7” frame, and he’s still only 22 years of age. If the Knicks hold onto Ledo for the whole year, he is due to make $947K.

Projected: 24 G, 8 MPG, 4 PPG, 2 RPG (D-League)

Carmelo Anthony, SF/PF

Anthony serves best described as the star player of the New York Knicks. When you’re making 32.7% of the team’s salary cap, you better be the best player. If Carmelo stays healthy, the Knicks can be playoff contenders this year. If he does not, the Knicks likely flounder at the bottom of the East once again. He specializes in getting his own shot, and he’s one of the best to ever do it, but it remains to be seen if he’s willing to put in that same commitment at the defensive end. ‘Melo has 5 more years of making over $22M a year.

Projected: 76 G, 35 MPG, 25.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3 APG, 1 SPG, 1 BPG

Cleanthony Early, SF

Cleanthony Early is waiting to prove himself. Similar to Langston Galloway, he was a four-year college career who spent some time last year in the D-League. He was somewhat of a disappointment last season, but he’s having a solid Summer League thus far which may exhibit his improvement from last season. The Knicks should hope they have the minutes for him to help his development. He is only making $845K this year.

Projected: 60 G, 25 MPG, 10 PPG, 4 RPG, 3 APG, 1 SPG

Lance Thomas, SF/PF

Thomas doesn’t do anything great offensively, but he’s a capable defender. It is said that because of his work ethic and attitude, he earned himself $1.6M this year. Thomas could give the Knicks valuable minutes throughout the season. Maybe he will find a belonging in the 2015-16 offense.

Projected: 48 G, 10 MPG, 4 PPG, 1 RPG (D-League)

Derrick Williams, PF/SF

Derrick Williams is the most mystifying move from this off-season for the New York Knicks. He doesn’t seem like a typical triangle player, and he was a second overall pick who hasn’t been able to justify that selection yet. He has just 92 starts in over 296 games, and it’s not because he doesn’t deserve it, he just hasn’t been in the right system yet. Williams’ flashed some of his potential during the second half of the season with the Sacramento Kings last year. If Williams finds his confidence with the Knicks, his deal of $4.4M a year could be a steal.

Projected: 68 G, 28 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 6 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, 1 BPG

Kristaps Porzingis, PF

The Zinger was the fourth overall pick for the New York Knicks. There were many critics when the Knicks took him fourth overall, but so far his Summer League play has showed that he’s worth the high pick. The most distinctive advantages that Krispy displays are that he is 7’3”, and he has incredible offensive versatility. He has been playing the center position in Summer League, but he will likely move to the power forward spot during the season. His weaknesses are evident: weak frame, not great in the post, and not as good of a rebounder as he should be for his size. But, he’s only 19. His development is crucial to the Knicks’ future success. His contract has not been finalized, but as a first rounder, he will have a 4-year rookie deal.

Projected: 74 G, 30 MPG, 15 PPG, 5 RPG, 2 APG, 1.8 BPG

Louis Amundson, C/PF

‘Sweet Lou’ is one of the survivors of the historically bad 2014-15 Knicks’ season who had the recent privilege of re-signing for this year’s seemingly improved roster. He signed a one-year deal for $1.65M with the Knicks about a week ago. He offers the Knicks minutes as a third-string center, a physical presence, and an energy guy. He also comes with a year experience in the triangle offense and could help explain things to the two other big men the Knicks acquired, Robin Lopez and Kyle O’Quinn.

Projected: 38 G, 8 MPG, 3 PPG, 3 RPG, 1 BPG

Robin Lopez, C

Lopez serves is the biggest acquisition for the Knicks from this year’s free agency. The Knicks filled their need for a big man, but many question if he can make that much of a difference for the team. Sometimes it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but Lopez has hustle, grit, tenacity, and fundamentals to make it as the everyday starting center for the Knicks. He has offensive rebounding as well as defensive rebound ability. He boxes out, alters shots, has cool hair, and has a deep understanding of the game. A little known fact about Robin Lopez, is that he has the Portland Trail Blazers’ record for offensive rebounds in a season. Knick fans need to not sleep on Robin Lopez, because he will transform this team instantly. He gives them a gritty big man with a diverse skillset that the Knicks desperately needed. He will make $12.6M this year, and has three more years on his contract of making a similar amount.

Projected: 68 G, 30 MPG, 12 PPG, 9 RPG, 1.8 BPG

Kyle O’Quinn C/PF

O’Quinn is perhaps the most underrated acquisition of the Knicks free agency. Much like Carmelo Anthony, Lance Thomas, and Cleanthony Early, O’Quinn is also a New York City product. The New York basketball aura has returned to New York, and to me that has a special significance. New York is a city that fights through hardship and leads by example, and Kyle O’Quinn exemplifies that. His skillset is extremely overlooked. He averaged a double-double for his junior and senior seasons at Norfolk State. His steals and blocks per 36 minutes last year are each over 3. He makes a difference on both sides of the ball and will serve as a spark for the Knicks this year. He is only 25 years old and is signed to a 4-year deal. He makes $3.75M this year.

Projected: 66 G, 22 MPG, 8 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, 1 BPG

Key Departures:

Andrea Bargnani (2-year deal with Nets for the minimum)

Travis Wear (Unrestricted FA)

Quincy Acy (Unrestricted FA)

Alexey Shved (3-year deal with Khimki Moscow)

Cole Aldrich (2-year deal with Clippers)

Shane Larkin (2-year deal with Nets)

If the Knicks hold onto Ricky Ledo, there are two spots on the team available. One spot will be a $2.8M exception and the other will likely go to a Summer League player, possibly either Alex Kirk or Maurice Ndour who will be signed for the minimum. If Ricky Ledo isn’t kept, I would suggest John Jenkins or Dorell Wright for that available $2.8M. Compare this roster to the dead weight of last year’s roster, and there is reason for optimism with the New York Knicks this year.

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