Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Here's our weekly Knicks mailbag with SNY's NBA Insider Ian Begley...
@mdavidsoniv: What is the overall sense within the org. of what the Knicks really got in the drafting of RJ Barrett? Now that they have 50+ games of film to dissect, do they feel he can be the star they hoped?
I haven't polled everyone in the organization but the sense you get is that everyone is generally optimistic about RJ Barrett's future. It seemed like he met all of the realistic expectations for his rookie season in 2019-20.
I don't think anyone can predict whether Barrett, who was selected third overall in the 2019 draft, will become a star in the league. But people around the Knicks were impressed by Barrett's consistent approach to the job and his work ethic. Some scouts I spoke with were impressed by Barrett's ability to impact the game as a rebounder and defender fairly consistently in his first season. Those scouts think that if Barrett can improve his perimeter shooting and continue to progress as a defender, he'll have a long, successful NBA career.
They also say it's too early to know if that career arc will translate to NBA stardom.
In addition to what they saw on the court, the Knicks also lauded Barrett for his solid mental approach to the game. No matter what happened the play before or the game before, Barrett was able to focus on the current moment.
That skill is invaluable for a young player in a market like New York, where there is a high volume of fan/media critiques.
Because of Barrett's work ethic and his mental approach, it seems like a fair bet that the 19-year-old will reach his full potential as a player. Does that mean he'll be a star in the league? That remains to be seen.
@Knickityknick: Do you see RJ Barrett playing more small forward next year? Do you think he is too big for SG position? More of a Jimmy Butler type?
That may be the case, but I haven't heard of any plans for Barrett to play more small forward next year. Maybe depending on the opposing lineup, he'd slide to the three occasionally. But I haven't heard anyone talk about it as a permanent move for him at this point.
@Ny_Knicks_Fr: What will be the preferred position for the FO during the next draft?
So much of the answer to this question depends on where the Knicks end up in the draft. But the sense you get from some people in touch with the Knicks is that they'd like a lead guard who can knock down a shot. As mentioned previously, getting a PG who can knock down a perimeter shot would help Barrett, make Mitchell Robinson more of a disruptor in pick-and-rolls and, generally, open things up on offense for New York. If the regular season doesn't resume, the Knicks will finish with the sixth-worst record in the NBA. If they get the sixth pick in the draft, they should be able to select one of the top lead guards in the 2020 class.
@knickityknick: Would the Knicks trade in to get another lottery pick?
Anything's possible but I'd assume it's more likely that the Knicks use their late first-round pick in a trade for another player -- or to move up in the draft -- rather than making a trade to acquire a third first-round pick. People who follow the draft closely don't see this draft as incredibly deep. So if the Knicks traded assets to acquire a third first-round pick in this draft, it would be a bit surprising.
@YolmaKnicks: Which players could be trade targets this summer? CP3? Beal? Mitchell?
As mentioned last month, there are people with the Knicks who believe Chris Paul can help fast-track the construction of the winning culture that they hope to establish under Leon Rose. But Paul's salary in 2021-22 takes up 35 percent of the projected salary cap. If the salary cap drops due to the effects of the China imbroglio earlier this season and the coronavirus crisis, maybe Paul's contract becomes too onerous for New York?
Salary aside, there are certainly Knick people who believe Paul can have an immeasurable effect on their young players.
With regards to Bradley Beal, Washington probably isn't going to trade him unless he asks to be moved. Same goes for Utah and Donovan Mitchell, who the Jazz say has (or will have) patched things up with teammate Rudy Gobert. So, at the moment, a Beal or Mitchell acquisition seems like a longshot.
@CKlar: What (is) the morale of the Knicks front office at the current moment with all of the uncertainty, movement, narcissism and Dolan's bout with coronavirus
Just like the questions above, I haven't polled the front office on this. So I don't want to misrepresent my answer. But I'd assume that, just like everyone else, they're concerned about the future of their business amid the coronavirus pandemic. There's an element here that, obviously, is specific to the Knicks: New team president Rose is doing his due diligence on the front office that he inherited from former team president Steve Mills, so there could be more changes to the front office. Rose has added Brock Aller and retained GM Scott Perry for the 2020-21 season. Allan Houston remains a candidate for a role with Rose's Knicks. David Blatt's contract wasn't renewed. It's logical to expect more changes coming to the front office. I'm not sure what the "narcissism" part of your question means, so I don't know how to address it.
@2lowtech: Has anyone asked Leon Rose when he plans to give a state of the Knicks address? None of us fans have ever heard him speak
@chicobonds: Is Leon going to speak soon?
I think the original plan was for Rose to take questions from the media -- and, by extension, explain his vision to the fans -- sometime after the season. That plan has probably been altered by the coronavirus crisis. I don't know if Rose is going to speak to the media soon. My best guess is that he'd talk after he makes a decision on the head coach for next season -- whether it's retaining Mike Miller or hiring someone else.
@NadroAllen: Coaching candidates?
I know that Tom Thibodeau is a strong candidate for the job. I'm not sure who else the Knicks will speak to about the job, though I assume Miller will get an interview. I also assume the Knicks will talk to several candidates about the opening. Just a guess, but here is an incomplete list of coaches I think would be candidates for the job: Thibodeau, Miller, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, John Calipari, Mike Woodson, Kenny Atkinson, Becky Hammon.