So the NBA Draft is months away, we are heading into the second half of the season and the Knicks season is over, best case scenario they turn it up a notch get the 8th seed in the East and get crushed
by the Bucks in the first round. I will admit I am not a New York Knicks fan, one of my favorite players of all-time was Allan Houston who was a New York Knick and saw his career cut short due to injuries after signing a massive contract which ended up harping the Knicks in the mid 2000’s. I’d like to talk about LaMelo Ball who is projected to go Top 10 in this coming draft.
I am aware of the show on TV were LaMelo’s outspoken father Lavar is being seen as a possible reason for NBA teams skipping on LaMelo Ball in this coming draft. We saw how Lavar Ball stating his oldest son Lonzo Ball was better than Steph Curry which right now seems comical, Lonzo Ball is still young and his career just got under way. Comparing Lonzo Ball to LaMelo Ball who is his youngest brother, Lonzo Ball is definitely more of a pass first player, he will be better defensively, and is less likely to become trigger happy through a whole game. LaMelo Ball is very young and I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better ball handler than this kid aside from Allen Iverson and Kyrie Irving. Yes I am aware of Tim Hardaway and how lethal of a crossover he possessed through his career as well, but LaMelo Ball is 6’8, much taller than Kyrie Irving,Tim Hardaway, and Allen Iverson. This kid’s game is marketable, just watching him play I see a combination of Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic. In the eyes of many that’s probably the greatest player of all-time and why can’t LaMelo Ball have those expectations?
I am no guru but I don’t see Lavar Ball getting involved assuming the Knicks draft LaMelo Ball. No disrespect to Elfryd Payton,Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr but none of them will ever be as good as LaMelo Ball. Once again I am no fortune teller but when you ask me what makes a great basketball player. it’s how much that player brings to the floor. Can he rebound? Can he pass? Can he create his own shot? How confident is he in his game? LaMelo Ball is as confident as it get and he shoots 3 pointers with no hesitation over tight defense, a Zone Defense which allows constant switching won’t affect LaMelo Ball since he is such an exceptional ball handler and at 6’8 he can throw just about any possible pass, whether is out to shooters or cutters to the rim. Efficiency and Turnovers are two areas where LaMelo Ball must improve but again this kid is 18 years old, once he becomes a finished product he is a perennial All-Star and that is what the Knicks need.
I read some comments Spencer Dinwiddie had on the Knicks, predicting the Nets will be better than the Knicks next year due to Kevin Durant’s return and man if you are a Knicks fan that sure should sting. I look over the Knicks roster and I see 3 players the Knicks should keep around, RJ Barrett,Mitchell Robinson,Julius Randle and Kevin Knox. Yes Kevin Knox, I know he’s been absolutely horrible this season but we are looking at 6’9 235 man child with athleticism and he can shoot the 3. RJ Barrett has been inconsistent for the most part, some nights he has looks like the Knicks’ first option and other nights he makes you wonder whether he is a bust. Mitchell Robinson has been coming off the bench but brings defense, rim protection, and rebounding which are vital for a Center in today’s game. Julius Randle has not taken the leap everyone was expecting after averaging over 20 ppg last season with the Pelicans, but he has not complained or seemed disgruntled. Plus for what the Knicks are paying him, he’s certainly performed up to the $63 million they payed him last summer.
Back to LaMelo Ball, most say he is not a winner because the Team he played on had a losing record but you place him with the Knicks core of Randle,Knox,Barrett, and Robinson and the Knicks will make the playoffs next season guaranteed. Under Mike Miller at first, most felt the Knicks should negotiate a contract to make him the Knicks Head Coach due to Knicks going on a small winning streak. The Knicks have cooled off they are 17-38 at the moment and man I feel bad for Knicks’ Ticket holders but do you want to win long-term or take first round exit this season and not get LaMelo Ball? LaMelo Ball would give the Knicks a huge back court with RJ standing at 6’7 and LaMelo standing at a whopping 6’8, both are play-makers and shot creators and their games compliment each other since neither is ball-dominant. Not sure who Dolan is planning on bringing in to coach the team, I am hearing Jay Wright but I’d rather give Mark Jackson the job. He did a lot of winning with the Knicks in his playing days and was the engineer behind the Splash Brothers in Golden State.
Mark Jackson was always a phenomenal all-around point guard who played both sides of the ball, LaMelo Ball needs a coach and mentor like Mark Jackson who can make him as efficient as possible on the court and improve his shot-selection. If Mark Jackson can get LaMelo Ball to utilize his 6’8 frame and get him to break down defenders and get to the basket relentlessly, he would make the Knicks unstoppable. The big red flag for me when it comes to LaMelo Ball is how trigger happy he can become because it means you are getting away from playing the game the right way and failing to go for the most efficient shot possible. Steve Kerr might have transformed the Warriors offense but Mark Jackson gave the Golden State Warriors’ the defensive mindset and unselfishness which led to the Warriors taking the league by storm behind Stephen Curry,Klay Thompson, and Draymmond Green. Again, the Knicks must do 2 things this summer which are hire Mark Jackson as the Head Coach and draft LaMelo Ball.
Patience is virtue, and the timing for the Knicks to take over the league is not now but might not be far off. Maybe the “Sell the Team” chants lit a fire under James Dolan and Paul Pierce publicly stating the Knicks will never turn around so long Dolan is the owner, maybe James Dolan runs across this article before the summer comes around but I believe it is the route the Knicks should take. To build a team you build through the draft, you hire a coach to establish a culture, and if you make yourself a desirable destination you can make yourself a dynasty if a Superstar decides to come over or two. LeBron James has a Player Option for the last season of his contract, could he be the cherry on the top to a Championship 2 years from now if he comes over to New York? It’s possible and I wouldn’t be shocked if he caps off his career in a Knicks uniform and exits the NBA a Champion.
To conclude the Knicks need a floor general, I love Payton’s defense but he’ll never become a shooter and at this point I’ve gave up on him ever becoming an All-Star. I could say the same for Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr I think may need to come to grips with him possibly not being a starting Point-Guard at this point in the NBA. The same way Mark Jackson saw the shooting potential Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry possessed and gave them the green light to fire away, I believe he could do the same for RJ Barrett and LaMelo Ball. That is just the back-court, I think Mark Jackson can tighten up a couple screws in Kevin Knox’s head as well and bring the best out of him which no coach has been able to do yet. LaMelo Ball is an absolute magician with the ball, sometimes he looks like Pete Maravich out there. I love Luka Doncic’s court vision and fancy passes, LaMelo Ball lacks Luka Doncic’s weight but he makes up for it with a quicker handle and more fluid moves. The kid is special and I’ll certainly be tuning into MSG more often if the Knicks pick him up, Till next time.