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The New York Knicks feel they could be anything during the 2022-23 NBA season.
Well, just about anything, at least.
Running a tournament wouldn’t be out of the question, and it’s also hard to see the floor completely fall off and this group sink into the Association’s bottom tier. Somewhere below these two extremes lies the actual ceiling and floor of this club.
Speaking of best and worst case scenarios, let’s put both of the top three stars on the team.
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The Roof: The All-Star Debut
nicks only Pay Barrett is like a superstar, and if everything – and we mean everything– Fail, could become one as soon as this season.
The 22-year-old is already a 20-point scorer defending at a high level, so the foundation is strong. Now, it is only about making those subtle improvements that will increase the quality of his production.
If Barrett shoots like he did in 2020-21 (slashes 44.1/40.1/74.6) and excels at playmaking a bit, All-Star voters might notice him.
Keyword: offensive incompetence drives him into the trade block
The fact that we highlighted shooting in 2020-21 may have told you how it was portrayed last season: not so good (40.8/34.2/71.4 slash).
His real shot percentage was 51.1 . second worst (ahead of only Julius Randle) Among the league’s 40 players who averaged 40 points per staed basketball.
If Barrett’s shooting rates continue to fall, it wouldn’t be entirely shocking if news broke that New York was measuring the value of his trade around the deadline.
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Ceiling: Nix’s decades-long research resolves sentinel post
New York rolled out the red carpet and assigned a nine-figure sum to Bronson for a reason. The Copper Knicks clearly sees stellar potential at the 6’1-inch, 190-pounder and believes he can fill a gap in the point guard that has plagued the franchise for decades.
There were flashes that Bronson could do just that.
Last season, he made his career highs in points (16.3) and assists (4.8) while spreading the 50.2/37.3/84.0 slash, then set the Utah Jazz on fire for 27.8 points per game in the post-season opening round.
Keyword: fails to add volume, loses efficiency of Mavericks numbers
Look at Bronson’s counting categories again. These aren’t the kind of stats that usually warrant such a massive pay rate, especially for someone who’s already celebrated their 26th birthday.
The Knicks certainly see growth potential in these numbers, and they’re clearly hoping he can maintain the same (or similar) proficiency levels even though he’s supposed to move up the flick rankings now that he’s no longer sharing the floor with Luka Doncic. However, there are no guarantees that Bronson can raise his production, and he could see his efficiency rates drop even without an increase in volume.
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The Ceiling: Returns to the All-Star Game
Randall had strange season In 2021-22 (at the very least), he still finds his way to per-game contributions of 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists. Those numbers didn’t remove far from his 2020-21 production (24.1, 10.2 and 6.0, respectively), leading to his first (and so far only) All-Star selection.
The 27-year-old clearly has the talent for a comeback invite, especially if the Knicks next season are more competitive than last season’s group.
Randle could also help his chances by rebounding as a three-point shooter (30.8 percent last season, 41.1 the year before).
Floor: Undoes the offense and is traded to make way for Obi Tobin
As noted in Barrett’s slide, Randle had the worst real shot percentage of all 20 scorers last season. He also had a career high with 3.4 RPMs. Knicks succeeded 9.5 points Worse per 100 possessions with him than without her, according to the Basketball Reference.
If Randle’s repayment rates continue to decline, and he grows even less efficient, Knicks will have no choice but to shop with him.
It makes sense (sort of) to keep Obi Tobin buried behind Randle when he’s last at or near the All-Star level, but if he’s laying bricks and flipping him, the Knicks need to push him out of town and get a 2020 in the first round, pick more floor time.