Jake Brown | Twitter |
The once promising Knicks season of two weeks ago has quickly taken a negative turn. After their surprising win over the Celtics where Michael Beasley's 32 points carried the team to a win and a 17-14 record, the Knicks have lost six of their last seven games to fall to 18-20 and a dreadful 3-13 on the road.
They are now 10th in the Eastern Conference, and a game behind the Pacers for the final playoff spot. With three games until we hit the halfway point of the season, the Knicks aren't dead in the water yet because of this slump. There's still a lot of time to turn it back around, but not if things stay the way they are.
Calling up guard Trey Burke from the G-League Westchester Knicks on Friday is a move that has to be made, and one that makes perfect sense to make.
First off, the Knicks' production offensively in the backcourt has been poor and inconsistent. Jarrett Jack has some nights where he makes Knicks fans lose their minds. Frank Ntilikina is a work in progress and is out there more for his defense. Ron Baker is also out there for his defense, and has bricked layups left and right. Ramon Sessions almost never plays, and when he does, never scores. Those four guys combined average 20 PPG, and Sessions has only appeared in 13 games. Why is he on the roster at this point?
That question could be answered on Friday. Cut him.
Friday is the first day that players can be signed to 10-day contracts. In order for the Knicks to sign Burke, they need to create a roster spot. The only way to do that is by cutting Sessions. They already have a veteran point guard in Jack -- there's no need for two -- and financially it doesn't hurt you as Sessions is only making the veteran's minimum of just over $2 million. The move is an absolute no-brainer.
Also, the Knicks could lose Burke in less than a week on Jan. 10 when the G League Showcase occurs in Toronto, and he could be picked up by any team. They shouldn't risk losing him and being stuck with Sessions. While the Knicks would rather make a trade, there's no point trading Kyle O'Quinn and keeping Sessions. O'Quinn is as affordable of a player as it gets for his production, making just $4 million a year. It would be a shocker and flat out foolish if Sessions stayed on the roster and they traded O'Quinn for a draft pick.
Finally, Burke is lighting it up right now in the G League. Why is he even down there? The guy is scoring 27.3 PPG while shooting nearly 50 percent. That's remarkable, especially for a point guard. Meanwhile, the Knicks are barely getting 20 PPG from four different players. How is calling Burke up going to hurt in any way? What this Knicks offense lacks right now is scoring, especially in the backcourt, and giving Burke 15 MPG or so may just patch things up and give them a spark that they have had sitting around in Westchester.
Is Burke going to get the Knicks on a big winning streak and be Linsanity part two? No, he's not. Is calling him up and bringing in a guy who is hungry to prove himself again going to make the Knicks worse? Not a chance. We're talking about a guy who is a couple of years removed from making the NBA All-Rookie Team after getting picked ninth overall by the Jazz. Remember, this was the National College Player of the Year in 2013. When Burke is on, he can light up the scoreboard.
With Tim Hardaway, Jr. still out -- and at this point, who knows when he's coming back -- why not see what you have within? There's no reason to tank or go all-in on a top draft pick when this team has given the fans flashes of hope that they can make the playoffs. Everyone in New York would rather see a team make the playoffs right now than fight for a lottery pick. There's been too much losing in this city to see even more of it. Give Burke a chance, because the 25-year-old is probably the hungriest now to return to prominence than he's ever been.