Since the earth-shaking Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Knicks' moves have been relatively ho-hum, especially with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror. All they've done outside of waiving Wesley Matthews is call up John Jenkins from their G-League team in Westchester, then sign him to a two-year, partially guaranteed deal.
Jenkins played 25 minutes in his last game, putting up 14 points in the team's first win since early January. But his call-up is more than just a random flier. The Knicks have a history of heavily utilizing the developmental league, finding diamonds in the rough that benefit the squad for more than 10 days. Jenkins isn't the first guy they've cleverly brought into the fold this season, nor will he be the last.
With two Knicks point guards out of commission due to injuries, Kadeem Allen -- another Westchester Knicks alum, has stepped up to the plate. In 10 games and 22 minutes a night, Allen has averaged 16.2 points and 7.2 assists per-36 minutes. He's shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from three, albeit on just 16 tries. He's shown a lot of point guard smarts and patience with his play, attacking only clear holes and actively seeking out teammates.
Allen is already 26 years old and we're in the doldrums of the season, but he has made a case for himself as an NBA player. He may not have a secure future as a Knick with so many fellow young one guards on the roster, but along with Jenkins, New York potentially has another two successes to tack onto a long history of similar coups.
Back before the majority of NBA teams had a single G-League affiliate, or before it was called the G-League, the Knicks were head of the game in emphasizing growing young talent with the Erie Bayhawks. Names like Jeremy Lin, Luke Kornet, Toure Murry and Jeremy Tyler became Knicks via the G-League. Though Lin is the lone seasoned NBA talent, Kornet is looking like a legitimate center, while Murry and Tyler helped bring New York closer to winning basketball in their respective stretches at the Garden.
Even when the Knicks aren't finding new talent, they're assigning struggling youngsters to regain their confidence in Westchester, or allowing injured players to rehab and get their feet wet there as well. This is the work of a smart organization, and the Knicks led the field in using the developmental league for years. Now, the rest of the NBA has caught up, but the Knicks have 25 games and plenty of overlooked names to take a shot at.
Billy Garrett is the leading guard prospect on the roster, especially after back-to-back 30-point outings. He's been on a tear as of late, including coming away with six steals in a contest last week. Jameel Warney is a New Jersey native who spent his college years hooping on Long Island and was recently acquired from the Texas Legends. He's averaging 18.6 points and 6.2 rebounds a night on 54.7 percent shooting from the field. Isaiah Hicks, another big man, has been a Knick once before, and is putting up 16.5 points and 7.7 rebounds a game, shooting 48.8 percent from the floor.
Knicks fans are likely to see one or more of these names as the season winds down, and for good reason. With little left to play for, New York should scrounge for useful players wherever they can in the next couple of months. With any luck, they can find some that sticks around beyond April. As an organization well versed in these practices, there's a good chance the Knicks pull it off.