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Contrary To What Many Believe, Phil Jackson’s Off-Season Has Been A Success For Knicks

Knicks signed Lopez for 4 years, $54 mil

Robin Lopez (Steve Dykes – USA Today Sports)

Robin Lopez (Steve Dykes – USA Today Sports)


With NBA free agency officially beginning on Thursday (no it didn’t start on July 1 even though ESPN would make you think that), I waited to write about the New York Knicks free agency journey until everything became official. Reading and watching television, you would think the Knicks pulled a John Idzik Jets move and not sign anyone. No big names were signed and the natives became even more restless this summer with Phil Jackson becoming Public Enemy No.1 for Knick fans.

I, on the other hand, am of the opinion that the Knicks may not have gotten Greg Monroe or even Marc Gasol but they significantly improved from a 17 win team…maybe to just a 29 win team but that’s neither here nor there.

Let’s begin by looking at the Arron Affalo signing. A starting shooting guard is something the Knicks were missing last season. Add in that they are only spending $8 million a year for him and in today’s NBA, that’s a bargain. What Affalo brings to the Knicks is great perimeter defender and someone who can spread the floor on the offensive side of the ball. If you can get Affalo to drop 12- 15 points per game and play good defense on the opposing teams two guard, the investment will be well worth it with Affalo only 29 years old.

The Knicks also took a couple of fliers in signing former lottery pick Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn. In Williams, you pick up a young, versatile player that could play either the small forward or power forward position. You build the inside game so your rebounding and interior defense improves with this signing. The same goes for O’Quinn. You pick up a 6’10” player who enjoys playing inside and banging bodies off the bench. You also begin create a “bench mob” type of unit with two young hungry players looking to prove something and who will come in and give you energy and excitement during the game. Add in Langston Galloway and a healthy Cleanthony Early and you have what could be a surprising and good second unit off the bench.

The biggest move the Knicks made was signing Robin Lopez. At four years and $54 million, Lopez was by far the most expensive of Jackson’s signings but probably the biggest need for the Knicks. They were in the middle of the pack when it came to offensive rebounding but next to last in defensive rebounding. Knick opponents also shot 42 percent when shooting from five to nine feet which also tells you that the combination of Jason Smith and Quincy Acy were not exactly making the path to the basket difficult for their opposing teams. Lopez grabs rebounds, clogs the middle and can make baskets without whining about needing to take 15 shots a game (see DeAndre Jordan).

It seems that every Knicks fan and pundit forgot that this team had holes up and down the roster. Instead of spending serious money on one or two players, the Knicks spent their money on four players (and maybe more) to fill the holes that team has. Were they home runs? Of course not but at this point, we should be more interested in singles and doubles and playing small ball is the smart way to go for the Knicks organization going forward With an exploding salary cap next off-season, the Knicks will be in the mix for other big name free agents next season. But for now, let’s all relax and see how this team with the new additions plays together in year two of the Phil Jackson era.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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