The Knicks are headed for another season out of the playoff picture and another year in the lottery. The team has a sizable collection of veterans, however, the franchise's focus should center on their young core of recent draft picks.
The team is in for another massive rebuild, and there is a lot to look at for new president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Though much is made of who the Knicks can pursue in free agency or the draft, the focus right now should be the evaluation of New York's prospects already on the team.
There is talent, but there are major questions. Is Kevin Knox a lost cause? Is Damyean Dotson a keeper? Can you build around RJ Barrett? Here's a look at the Knicks' top prospects based on their value...
1. RJ Barrett
When the Knicks selected RJ Barrett third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, there was hope that the Knicks found a shot creator on the perimeter who could develop into a playmaker.
Barrett's first year in New York has been a mixed bag. He's shown the ability to score, but has yet to develop a consistent three-point shot (32.2 percent) and has a weak assist-to-turnover ratio.
Barrett has played better recently, including the strong 27-point performance earlier this week against the Houston Rockets. Though Barrett hasn't had the greatest rookie season, he has the potential to become a difference maker in New York. The Knicks just have to act like it and actually build a roster to play to his strengths, rather than his weaknesses.
2. Mitchell Robinson
There aren't many players oozing with more potential than Robinson. The seven-footer is clearly New York's most effective and efficient young player at the moment. Already a quality rim protector and a strong pick and roll finisher, Robinson has all of the tools to be a quality starting center in the NBA for a long time.
Still, his skill set naturally limits his ceiling. His role can be boiled down to setting screens, rebounding, blocking shots and dunking. Similar to DeAndre Jordan, the role is critical to a team's success, but isn't the end-all-be-all to becoming a contender.
3. Damyean Dotson
Dotson is one of the more intriguing prospects the Knicks have. At 25-years-old, he profiles as a potential 3-and-D role player at the two-guard position. Dotson has shot 36.3 percent from three on 571 career attempts. The Knicks have also defended better when Dotson is on the court the past two years by a sizable margin.
However, the Knicks have -- for some inscrutable reason -- failed to find time for Dotson. He's only played in three of the last 11 games due to coach's decision. The team will be in an interesting spot this summer with Dotson, as the guard is a restricted free agent and could help a few teams in a bench role.
4. Frank Ntilikina
After three seasons, we know what Frank Ntilikina is.
The guard has shown modest improvements this season. Offense has been a major struggle. Ntilikina still has bouts of passiveness as an attacker, and his shooting (30.6 percent from three) is a major limitation.
Ntilikina is still a quality defender. The Knicks' defensive efficiency rises by nearly four points when Ntilikina is on the floor. His defensive stop on Russell Westbrook at the end of the Rockets game was a reminder of how great of an individual defender Ntilikina has been at such a young age. His abilities as a versatile perimeter defender makes him a possible target for another team to poach.
5. Kevin Knox
Opportunity was present in Kevin Knox's rookie season in New York. He was spoon fed playing time and struggled through a rough first year showing. This season, Knox's minutes were cut severely due to the addition of Marcus Morris. Even after Morris' departure in a trade deadline deal, Knox still finds himself glued to the bench on many occasions.
A former lottery pick, Knox has failed to live up to expectations so far. He has made some minor improvements defensively in terms of activity and effort, but he's failed to figure out a role on offense.
There are major questions of whether Knox can even reach the levels of a quality rotation player. With this season feeling like another lost campaign for Knox, It will be important for Knox to make his imprint in his third season.
6. Allonzo Trier
There haven't been many memorable moments for Allonzo Trier in his second season with the Knicks. After a rookie season that saw "Iso Zo" turn a two-way contract into a two-year deal, the 6-foot-4 guard's minutes have drastically declined in his second season.
Trier will likely be a restricted free agent this summer, and based off of his limited playing time this season, it would not be astounding to see him on a new team this summer.
7. Dennis Smith Jr.
As previously noted, Smith's 2019-20 season has been a major disappointment. Never able to find his footing on offense, Smith's value around the league has completely tanked. We've seen how hard it is to join the exclusive 50-40-90 club. That's 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
Smith has found a way to go the opposite way and join the illusive 30-20-50 club. With another year left on his deal before he reaches restricted free agency, there's a limited amount of time for Smith to turn this around.
8. Ignas Brazdeikis
Brazdeikis has seen a total of 53 minutes with the Knicks, as he's spent most of his time down in the G-League with the Westchester Knicks. The former second round pick has showcased a strong ability to score, averaging 20.9 points on 50.1 percent from the field in 24 games with Westchester.