The Knicks‘ off-season business is pretty much finished at this point. They’ve created solutions to all the clear issues they faced throughout the regular season and the playoffs and added some much-needed depth while losing very few key players. Now, unless a certain lights-out-shooting point guard in Oregon shockingly decided they want out, Tom Thibodeau’s roster is complete. With as many players brought in as there were, it only feels right to grade how smart each move the front office made was.
Kemba Walker: A
What has felt like something that was destined to happen at some point in his career, has finally happened: Kemba Walker came home. After an agreed buyout with Oklahoma, New York was able to bring Walker in on a feasible contract. On just eight million dollars yearly lasting two seasons, the Bronx-born guard is an easy A for the Knicks. He fits right in as Elfrid Payton (finally) makes his way out of the Big Apple. While he’s had his recent injury struggles, the Knickerbockers don’t need to be too dependant on him as Derrick Rose and Deuce McBride will both be there to back him up. Considering the limited point guard options the Knicks had in free agency, landing Kemba Walker on such a small contract is a big win.
Evan Fournier: B+
Evan Fournier was another great pickup for New York. He’s the bucket-getter that was missing throughout the Knicks’ short-lived playoff stunt. While he struggled a bit throughout the second half of his season in Boston, he averaged 19 points in Orlando and could potentially provide similar numbers this season. The general consensus from NBA fans and executives alike is that the Knicks overpaid for him. However, the market in the NBA has been kind towards these types of offensive players. Other offensive weapons like Terry Rozier, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Duncan Robinson all signed high-priced contracts this summer. Like Kemba, Fournier will fit right into Thibodeau’s squad and replace Reggie Bullock in the starting 5.
Quentin Grimes: B
Coming into the NBA draft, Quentin Grimes wasn’t really a big name. When he was chosen by the Knicks in the late first round, it didn’t seem too risky or that smart either. It was just an OK pick by many. It felt unlikely that he would be given much game time this season with as much depth as NY had. However, he gained some traction during the summer league. The 21-year-old showed aggressiveness and some consistent shooting in the latter half of the games which will surely give Thibs something to think about. Grimes clearly has potential but could a guard-heavy Knicks squad stunt that?
Deuce McBride: B+
It looks like the Knicks may have stumbled upon a second-round diamond in the rough. Deuce was one of the most impressive players for New York in the summer league. He demonstrated a very clean jump shot and hounded all competition defensively. McBride could develop into a Kyle Lowry type player in Manhattan if given the right opportunities to succeed. Of this draft, very few players fit Thibodeau’s defensive style perfectly; and the WVU guard was one of them. However, it’ll be difficult to break into a key role for New York with Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose both given priority ahead of him to start the season.
Jericho Sims: B+
The hyper-athlete Jericho Sims is a really intriguing piece the Knicks have. While Nerlens Noel and Mitchell Robinson are both tall, skinny centers who make a living off shot-blocking and catching a couple lobs each game, Sims offers something different. The 22-year-old 58th pick is a strong and powerful presence in the paint. He has freakish athleticism and may well be important for the Knicks this season. Noel and Robinson’s qualities are perhaps too similar and on some nights, their slender man-like build will lead to their struggles. Jericho could get more minutes than either other rookies despite being picked far later than them both. While he likely won’t be key to New York’s potential success this season, Jumpman Sims is an exciting prospect who offers something the Knicks were lacking.
The Knicks’ next tip-off is on October 5th against the Pacers in their first preseason matchup where all 5 players will likely play in their first real Knicks game.