This summer was supposed to be different for the New York Knicks. They drafted Duke University standout RJ Barrett and Virginia player Kyle Guy. The draft duo was supposed to line up on the court with major free agent signings and turn the Knicks into the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Every NBA expert claimed the Knicks were set to land Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would most likely join him. Those experts were just a bit off as both Durant and Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets rather than their city rivals.
Now with expectations and excitement once again low for Knicks, they have turned in the results of a deflated franchise in NBA Summer League play.
The Knicks have lost their first three games of the Summer League season. The players were so frustrated with their performance against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday that they walked off the court without shaking hands.
Barrett, the new star of New York City, scored 17 points against the Raptors. It was his best output in the NBA Summer League following poor displays against the New Orleans Pelicans and the Phoenix Suns.
The NBA Summer League shouldn’t mean much when the Association season tips off in October. The problem is the Knicks, and their fanbase, are so beaten down that the Summer League losses accentuate just how bad they are.
Is there hope for the Knicks? On Tuesday, they announced the signing of five new players. The additions of Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis, and Julius Randle will not create the excitement of a Durant or Irving.
In terms of name value, Randle maybe the most impressive of the five. At just 24, the 6ft 9in forward is a former Los Angeles Laker with tons of potential. He spent last season with the New Orleans Pelicans where he averaged a career-high 21.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds.
Gibson is coming off of two years with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The forward averaged 10.8 ppg and 6.5 rebounds. At 6ft 9in tall, he and Randle will give the Knicks size down low. Portis had a career year in 2018-19 averaging 14.2 ppg and 8.1 rebounds in just 50 games. Along with Randle, Portis offers promise and size. Portis is 6ft 11in tall and provides further youth to the Knicks at 23.
Could there be another big signing for the Knicks this offseason? With so many young players like Barrett, Portis, and Randle, New York may add further veteran players to the squad. Amar’e Stoudemire is one veteran star that could re-join the Knicks this offseason.
Stoudemire hasn’t appeared in the NBA since 2016 when he retired. Now 36, Stoudemire has been playing in Israel with Hapoel Jerusalem after reconsidering basketball retirement. Stoudemire still has the “bug” to play in the NBA and will work out for 12 teams this offseason, including the Knicks.
According to Oddschecker, the New York Knicks are 250/1 to win the NBA championship in 2019-20. They have the ninth longest odds to win the NBA Finals. Anyone looking to wager on the Knicks to win the Eastern Conference can do so at 90/1 odds.
Just a few weeks ago, NBA insiders proclaimed the Knicks to be on the verge of making major free agent signings and being the toast of the Association. Now, the Knicks look very similar to last season as they slog through the Summer League.