Knicks

Could LaMelo Ball Be New York’s Savior?

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The Knicks’ woes have been very apparent and well-documented for a while now. The organization and their fans have endured losing season after losing season. Since 2000, the Knicks have had four winning seasons, and haven’t held a winning record since 2012-13. The face of their organization at the time, Carmelo Anthony, was acquired via trade. Outside of Anthony, there is an argument to made that the only franchise player the Knicks have ever drafted was Patrick Ewing.

With the lottery system in place, one would think the Knicks would be able to draft their way out of this unimpressive stretch. Even with four top-ten picks in the last five drafts, however, the Knicks have failed to find the franchise superstar that they have long yearned for. In 2015 they drafted Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth overall pick. While the young Latvian star certainly showed promise in his young career, injuries began to plague the seven-footer. Knicks fans will never be able to forget the night Porzingis tore his ACL.

This can easily be pointed to as the beginning of the end for his days in New York. The organization would ultimately decide to trade Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks in efforts to acquire picks and capital for yet another rebuild.

In 2017, the Knicks would use their eighth overall pick to acquire another young, raw prospect in Frank Ntilikina. With questions about his offensive abilities looming over his head, Knick fans were not very excited about the pick. Looking back on the 2017 draft, the Knicks passed on Dennis Smith Jr., Malik Monk, Donovan Mitchell and Bam Adebayo. Ntilikina has easily been the most disappointing pick of this draft’s top half.

In 2018, the Knicks chose Kevin Knox with the ninth overall pick and he has averaged 9.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assist per game in two seasons with the team. Those numbers are certainly not what a team wants from a franchise centerpiece.

Later that draft, the Knicks made their best draft selection in the past five years: Mitchell Robinson. Drafted in the second round, 36th overall, Robinson has shown glimpses of potential to become an elite big man. Already establishing himself as an elite rim-protector, Robinson has gotten better and better right before our eyes.

Despite hype around a possible first-overall selection in Zion Williamson, the Knicks fell to the third overall slot in last year’s draft, landing a different piece of Duke’s big three instead in RJ Barrett. Going into the 2019-2020 season, expectations were high for Barrett. He gained high praise from scouts in the weeks leading up to the draft, with many people feeling that he was the most NBA-ready and had the most potential.

Barrett burst onto the scene and averaged over 20 points per game in his first few games. Knick fans felt like they finally got a draft pick correct. While Barrett certainly went through the normal ups and downs every rookie seems to go through, it seems to be the consensus that Barrett will be a good player and great building block for the Knicks moving forward.

Despite all of the missteps this organization has endured, they seem to be going on the right path heading into the 2020 NBA Draft. The franchise has been linked to what many consider to be one of the best prospects in recent memory; LaMelo Ball.

One of the biggest side-stories of the recent NBA has been the Ball Family saga. Between the outgoing father LaVar, college superstar turned Laker then Pelican, Lonzo, to now the “next coming” in LaMelo, the Ball Family has become the Kardashians of the NBA. To no one’s surprise, the Knicks seem to want in:

Even with all of the drama that may surround the Ball family, LaMelo Ball is truly a spectacle to be seen.

In today’s NBA, the point-guard position is pivotal to the success of an organization and even more important to building an organization from the ground up. The Knicks have a few solid players in RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. Drafting LaMelo to play alongside these two, combined with a large amount of salary cap to fill, could be exactly the recipe that can lead the Knicks to the promised land of the playoffs once again. Only time will tell.

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