In the 2020 offseason, the Knicks made plenty of moves to change up their roster for the upcoming season. The New York Knicks brought in 8th overall pick Obi Toppin from Dayton and 25th overall pick Immanuel Quickley from Kentucky. They also signed Seton Hall undrafted free agent Myles Powell. Also, the Knicks added depth to the roster signing Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Austin Rivers, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from free agency. This left positions like point guard and power forward still questionable for the Knicks. Here is my Knicks 2020-2021 projected starting lineup.
Projected 2020-2021 Starting Lineup
Elfrid Payton, Point Guard
With the addition of guards Austin Rivers and Immanuel Quickley to the squad, the Knicks still don’t have their true point guard to start the season. They have four guards competing for the spot with Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., and Austin Rivers. With this being said they will probably give the nod to Elfrid Payton who had already spent a year with the Knicks. Payton averaged 10 points per game and added 7.2 assists on 44% shooting last year. He is known for his passing ability and his on-ball defense. In contrast, Payton’s lack of three-point ability and abundance of effortlessness in transition throw up red flags.
Although this decision could change throughout the season whether or not the Knicks will be able to win games. However, expect Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. to get a fair amount of minutes as well.
Austin Rivers, Shooting Guard
The Knicks have limited options they can choose at shooting guard. The Knicks will be looking at Austin Rivers to give this starting position too. Austin Rivers averaged 8.8 points on 42% shooting last year with the Houston Rockets. As mentioned, Austin Rivers was one of the Knicks’ notable signings this offseason. Rivers would provide a veteran presence on the court and the Knicks could use him as a combo guard. He is known to be well-rounded on both sides of the ball.
Immanuel Quickley could also be an option to use down the stretch of games as picked up by the Knicks in this year’s draft. Quickley is an intriguing option because of his excellent three-point shooting and free-throw shooting. He shot 42 percent and 92 percent respectively.
With the new addition of Austin Rivers, it will be exciting for many to watch how he flourishes in New York.
RJ Barrett, Small Forward
There is a large amount of depth for the Knicks at small forward. Their options consist of RJ Barrett, Alec Burks, Kevin Knox, and Reggie Bullock. RJ Barrett is the likely starter at the small forward. With an underwhelming rookie season, RJ Barrett didn’t make any of the All-NBA rookie teams averaging 14.3 points on 40% shooting. RJ also shot 32 percent from beyond the arc and 61.4 percent from the free-throw line.
The Knicks will be expecting an increase in production to see if Barrett is really a part of the Knicks’ future. Alec Burks and Kevin Knox will be expected to receive some minutes too as the Knicks will also have Reggie Bullock as a 3-and-D player.
This upcoming season Barrett will have to put in the work and establish himself as a star player.
Julius Randle, Power Forward
With an enormous amount of negative feedback, the Knicks will be looking to run it back with last year’s starting power forward Julius Randle. Julius Randle is coming off a solid season averaging 19.5 points per game on 46 percent from the field. He’s been described by Knicks fans as a “ball hog” and an unproductive player with his spin moves often causing turnovers. Randle desperately needs to improve his playmaking and outside shooting. Randle shot 27.7 percent beyond the arc and turned over the ball three times per game.
The Knicks will also be adding Obi Toppin to the power forward position via this year’s draft. Expect a good amount of minutes coming out of him as well as he is a 22-year-old rookie with not too much time to grow. Randle is going to have to prove people wrong this season with his team productivity.
Mitchell Robinson, Center
With a promising 2nd season Mitchell Robinson amongst centers is projected to start for the Knicks this upcoming season. The third-year player averaged 9.7 points per game adding two blocks on 74.2% shooting. His percentage is record-breaking, beating out Wilt Chamberlain‘s 72.7% single-season record. Mitchell Robinson wishes to expand his outside shooting as seen in his gym videos.
With the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, Mitchell Robinson’s defense is expected to arise. Additionally, the Knicks added Nerlens Noel who is anticipated to mentor Mitchell Robinson to stay out of foul trouble as that has been one of Robinson’s biggest flaws. Mitchell Robinson is expected to make a big push this season. That is my projected 2020-2021 Knicks starting lineup.
Overall, for the 2020-2021 season, the Knicks projected starting lineup should have:
PG: Elfrid Payton
SG: Austin Rivers
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Mitchell Robinson