One of the worst seasons in New York Knicks history is over. A 17-65 record will be tough to swallow, but arguably the franchise's biggest offseason ever is fast approaching. This roster made up of raw talent and NBA vagabonds could look anywhere from completely different to mostly the same this time next year. Here's how each key player fared this season, and whether they should stay or go:
Barring an Anthony Davis trade, Knox is likely to remain a Knick, and fans should be cautiously optimistic about his future. Although his numbers as a whole were shoddy, there's a lot that is easily fixable, such as taking off a step too early or knowing when to go to the floater vs. attacking the defender's body. He had some solid stretches scattered across an underwhelming season: 43 percent three-point shooting in March, for example. The goal is for him to be a complete player, but we've yet to see tangible improvements much of anywhere,. That's okay, he's very young, and clearly filled with talent.
Dotson cemented himself as a legitimate prospect this season, improving his shooting to a 37 percent clip from deep, and going on multi-game stretches of supernova scoring. He had nine 20-point outings this season, showing off a little more of his pick-and-roll and dribble pull-up game. He's a heady defender that can still get burned by faster players, but as of right now, Dotson has one of the highest floors of New York's young core. Stay.
For the first half of the season, Vonleh was "Draymond-lite," a stretch and playmaking four that left opponents in bandages and bruises after a night in the paint. He had successfully redeemed what was looking like a disappointing season, and teams were reportedly trying to trade for him. Then things fell off hard in the second half, not entirely surprising for a guy that went from riding the bench to being a key full-time starter. He's absolutely worth holding onto as a dependable role player.
Rookie of the Year. Next Bill Russell. Next.
A pleasant surprise and the latest in a long line of diamonds in the rough the Knicks have dug up, Trier was one of the most fun and effective players of the season. As of right now, he can really only do one thing: score. He did so to the tune of 10 points a night, 45 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent from three. This came in the form of a lot of isolations and high pick-and-rolls, and one of the worst assist percentages among his position. He's not your purebred point guard, and that's fine, as Trier is crazy talented and has an offensive repertoire far beyond his age. The issue is the Knicks have two other promising, score-first primary ball handlers that we'll get to, of which Trier is the oldest. This is an easy "stay" if one or two of them are gone.
Here's one of the two. Like Vonleh, this was a redeem season for Mudiay, and at times he was simply lifting the Knicks to victories. He's found his touch in the 10-feet and below area with little pivots and fades, his handling is more poised, and he hit a career-high in three-point percentage. The defense and passing were lacking, but can still improve. The Knicks will likely have to choose between him and Trier, assuming their top prospect is still…
Dennis Smith Jr.
A theory surrounding Smith Jr. was that a lot of his ailments in Dallas could be remedied by sending him to a team where he'd be free to operate with the ball. This didn't come to pass in his less-than-half a season with the Knicks, but the usual promise was there. Explosive athleticism, a keen sense for finding his teammates and a lot of room to grow. Whatever you think of his performance to date, his tools and age make him a must-keep to see how he develops.
New York had success picking up the league's various drifters and hoping they'd find their way, but not with Hezonja. Credit where it's due, two of the season's most outrageous moments came courtesy of "Super Mario" -- a dunk and stepover on Giannis Antetokounmpo and game-sealing block on LeBron James -- but the rest did not inspire awe. 28 percent shooting from three, porous defense and little development of his ball skills. He's still only 23, but there will be better fliers available. Go.
At one point Thomas began to look like a serious 3-and-D contributor, but his deep ball fell off a cliff this season and attempts to be more of a playmaker as a roll man and inside finisher did not go well. He's a great culture guy, but the Knicks should be able to find one of those capable of being a net positive on the court.
A 23-year-old center that can shoot the three with no hesitation? Kornet's game hasn't offered much more, but that's enough to remain interesting. This is a "stay" for New York given what he'll cost and what he'll be asked to do.
Talk about a disappointment. Injuries prevented us from watching Ntilikina get his reps in this season, and the little we saw of him was nothing to write home about. He's still a super impressive defender for his age, but with so many prospects at the one position and some weird disconnect with head coach David Fizdale, it may be time to move on. The best argument against that choice would be having to get rid of him at his lowest possible value.
Jordan isn't the All-Star caliber player he once was, nor was he ever the world-beating impact player described as in his prime, but he has done a masterful job mentoring the young Robinson, and could be key in getting Kevin Durant in a Knicks jersey. He's been a pro's pro in his short time with New York, so keeping him on board, assuming on a reasonable deal, is well worth it.