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The New York Knicks have been flying high lately!
With victories against the Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, and New Orleans Pelicans, the Knicks are a perfect 3-0 in the preseason. Currently, the Knicks are an exciting team to watch. The players are young, athletic, and they get after it on defense and the fast break. This year’s squad seem to have the ability to bring the electricity that has been sorely missing from the Madison Square Garden crowd in recent years.
Even though this current Knicks roster is living their best life on the hardwood, the talk surrounding the team hasn’t been about their stellar play. Despite their amazing performances, the media shifted their focus to rumors which put Kevin Durant in New York City in the summer of 2019.
Yahoo Sport’s Chris B. Haynes delivered the rumor on Wednesday’s episode of FS1’s Undisputed.
“New York Knicks have a very good shot at luring KD away from the Bay Area. … The same allure that LeBron had towards the Los Angeles Lakers, just the building, the culture, is the same way I know that KD feels about the Knicks.” — @ChrisBHaynes#UDin60 pic.twitter.com/iM1ivZt85d
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) October 4, 2018
Now, there is no guarantee that Durant will land in New York next year, but the fact the Knicks have a “very good shot” at one of the NBA’s premier players is refreshing to hear. Especially for Adam Silver who’s probably rubbing his hands together, like Birdman, at the possible prospect of Durant landing in the NBA’s largest market.
Currently, the Knicks have a young, competitive, and energetic roster that’s ready to take on any opponent, and the addition of Durant can do wonders for a young Knicks roster already showing promise. To maximize Durant’s possible impact on the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis needs to come back better than ever from his ACL injury, and Kevin Knox needs to show that his summer league performances weren’t a fluke. If these two factors come to fruition, it’s possible the Knicks could have a starting lineup with four players whose wingspan is 7’0″ and over.
In other words, if Durant, Porzingis, Knox, and Frank Ntilikina were to hold hands and form a line, their combined wingspan would be equivalent to the length of Manhattan Bridge.
Opposing players wouldn’t know what to do if they see nothing but arms and legs in their path. With David Fizdale prioritizing high intensity of defense, it’s possible the Knicks could become one of the best defensive teams in the league. In addition to high-intensity defense, Fizdale loves players who are versatile. Durant, Porzingis, Knox, and Ntilikina would provide versatility on defense (all players would be able to guard multiple positions on the floor), and on offense, Fizdale would be able to play a souped-up version of positionless basketball. All four players can handle and pass the ball well, and the spacing on the floor will lead to wide open driving lanes.
Four of the five starters isn’t hard to figure out due to the style of basketball Fizdale likes to play. The question would be, who would fill the fifth opening slot in the starting lineup. The answer to this question would depend on Fizdale’s faith in Ntilikina controlling the pace.
If Fizdale believes Ntilikina may need some help in the backcourt, more than likely a natural point guard will fill the fifth slot. On the current roster, Trey Burke seems to be the best fit if the Knicks decide to keep him past this season. If the Knicks open up enough cap space to bring in another max player, this player could be Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker.
On the other hand, if Fizdale believes in Ntilikina’s ability to control the pace, then the fifth slot will most likely be filled by a three-and-D type of player. A player who would probably slot in well is Khris Middleton or Klay Thompson, who’s a pipe dream at this moment, and on the current Knicks roster, Courtney Lee, Damyean Dotson, or Tim Hardaway Jr. can fill this role. Of course, this is contingent on the Knicks keeping these players, but if the Knicks are to free up cap space for another max contract, logically one of Lee or Hardaway Jr. will be traded.
From a realistic standpoint, it’s hard to imagine Durant coming to New York, but if he does, the Knicks will transform overnight into a beast that not many teams will be willing to tackle.