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The New York Knicks may not be done with the 2022 NBA offseason.
They were busy during off time, adding Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein while keeping Mitchell Robinson. But they must not stop there. Donovan Mitchell might be on the way, as you may have heard –If not, congratulations on getting out from under that rock— and the Knicks are back in talks about blockbuster trades with the Utah Jazz, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Tony Jones.
A mega deal for Mitchell would change the perception and impact of the offseason in New York, but the Knicks have done decently well this summer as it is. Let’s take a look at how some of their spending could manifest with three bold predictions regarding their top signings.
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Jalen Brunson may just have completed a career year, but the Knicks clearly believe the 6’1″ lead guard has an extra gear.
He had good numbers in 2021-22 (16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game), but they don’t quite match his new pay rate (four years, $104 million per Spotrac). That’s fine with the Knicks because they’re not paying for his past production, but for the numbers he might release in the future.
How about starting with a point average of over 20 points?
Granted, that’s a bit risqué for someone who had never averaged 13 points before this season, but Brunson has been averaging an efficient 21.6 a night in the playoffs, so he’s got the guts. Also, his consumption is increasing after stepping out of Luka Doncic’s shadow in Dallas, and it’s possible the Knicks are leaning more heavily on Brunson than anyone.
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The Knicks did not give Mitchell Robinson a four-year, $60 million contract for his offense.
Sure, they’d love to see growth in that part of his game, and there’s a good chance he’ll be more effective than ever with a playmaker like Jalen Brunson in charge, but New York’s investment in Mitchell is all about that Defense.
And the Knicks could still get their money’s worth.
Only true defensive anchors can justify getting that type of coin as a non-shooting center in today’s NBA, but Robinson has the tools to be that. He’s a bouncy 7-footer with a better understanding of how to use his length, which has manifested in lower foul rates and greater overall impact. In 2021-22, he averaged 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in just 25.7 minutes per game while shooting 5.3 points from his opponents’ normal field goal percentage, according to NBA.com.
If he continues to develop defensively, he will demand consideration for all-defense honors.
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It was a little odd to see the Knicks call for both Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein in the free hand since both players occupied the middle.
However, it can work if everyone brings something different to the table like they do. Where Robinson offers a ridiculous combination of size and athleticism, Hartenstein brings more polished ability.
There are plenty of weapons in his arsenal, but perhaps this organization is most looking forward to adding his shooting sensibility. Well, he hasn’t made many threes (30) or made (14) last season, but considering he only went 4 of 17 into the season for his career, both areas were relatively big jumps. Oh, and if you didn’t add up the numbers, they add up to an elite splash rate of 46.7 percent.
The Knicks could use a jumbo shooter. They don’t have a spacer in their center mix, and their top scoring threats of last season – Julius Randle and RJ Barrett – both work best from within the arc. They’ll lean on Hartenstein for more breathing room, and his green light will yield 50+ three-balls.