Since Raymond Felton’s final stint in New York, the Knicks have began Jose Calderon, Derrick Rose, Jarrett Jack, Emmanuel Mudiay and Elfrid Payton at level guard.
It’s no secret they didn’t sniff the postseason throughout this stretch, and missing a lead ball-handler who may each create for themselves and others at a league-average stage was a giant motive why. This offseason is an opportunity to show that round, not solely by way of the draft however quite a lot of succesful free brokers.
Listed here are the highest 5 level guards the Knicks ought to take into account pursuing in free company. Observe this doesn’t embrace restricted free brokers as they’re far much less attainable.
VanVleet is the cream of the crop of this unrestricted free agent class, coming off one other improved season, one faraway from a breakout 2018-19 through which he helped his Toronto Raptors to an NBA championship. After his large collection and Kawhi Leonard’s departure, VanVleet began each recreation in 2019-20, noticed eight extra minutes and 5 extra pictures per recreation. His utilization charge additionally climbed to a career-high 21.7%.
The outcomes held up VanVleet as greater than a one-run marvel as his capturing effectivity elevated, his help share ticked up for the fourth straight 12 months, he obtained to the free throw line extra and nonetheless performed the identical stage of scrappy, hard-nosed protection he was recognized for. Although not some extent guard within the conventional sense, he’s obtained the makings to be New York’s finest since Stephon Marbury, and at simply 26 years outdated has room to develop. One other workforce will certainly throw $20 million a 12 months at him, whether or not the Knicks need to bid that prime is the query.
Dragic is not any slouch as a comfort prize, although on the older facet and with much less to supply defensively than VanVleet. When he’s wholesome Dragic remains to be a lot efficient as a ground basic and creator, as displayed throughout Miami’s miracle run to the Finals this previous 12 months. His shiftiness as a southpaw can nonetheless mess with defenses, opening up reducing lanes and weak-side shooters once you get him on a dribble hand-off or excessive display. The Knicks can badly use all of this, in addition to his three-point capturing which hovers round league common. That Dragic has lived by way of many a postseason run over his 12 NBA seasons is one more reason to deliver him into the locker room.
Sadly, right here’s the place the self-love of this free agent class exposes itself. This subsequent group of names is fairly interchangeable with no clear winner, every a veteran that ought to purchase in, match with most methods and be a gradual presence on and off the court docket. We start with Augustin, who misplaced his beginning job in 2019-20, however is just a 12 months faraway from beginning on a playoffs workforce and capturing very well for them.
Actually, he cracked 40% capturing from three in 4 out of 5 seasons earlier than dropping to 35% final common season and breaking again out to 47% within the postseason bubble. It’s straightforward to see him sliding into a job seamlessly with how undemanding he’s, and he’ll have the ability to open up room and arrange guys like RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson effectively.
At one level in his profession, Teague regarded like a borderline All-Star, however is now on the opposite finish of his manufacturing bell curve. Earlier than The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Teague mid-season to the Atlanta Hawks, he was truly placing up serviceable numbers: 13.2 factors and 6.1 assists per recreation on simply shy of 45% and 38% from the sphere and three, respectively. These numbers tanked in Atlanta, alongside along with his taking part in time, however bringing him in to conduct the offense for the Knicks could lock him again in.
New York wouldn’t be assured a lot with Teague on the one, he’s misplaced a step on each ends and didn’t deliver a lot to the desk defensively to start with. However much less drafting a star rookie or buying and selling for a Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul, having Teague within the rotation wouldn’t harm.
This can be a unusual one. Additionally close to the tip of his profession, Rondo is almost definitely seeking to latch again on to a contender after profitable his second championship this previous 12 months with the Lakers. Nevertheless, if a reunion with Tom Thibodeau — who coached Rondo in Boston in 2008 — fancies the veteran level guard’s urge for food, he may find yourself in a Knicks jersey.
The opposite downside is he additionally typically can’t shoot from outdoors, can get unengaged defensively and appears on the rim so little defenders are prepared for his set-up move. Sure, Rondo corrects most of those within the postseason, however there’s no assure of creating it in case you’re the Knicks and he doesn’t have LeBron James and Anthony Davis there to cowl up his worst habits.
Austin Rivers and Reggie Jackson didn’t make the listing, largely due to their score-first mentalities, which wouldn’t finest swimsuit the Knicks at this stage of their rebuilding.