Today I will be giving a grade to every Knick from this past 2019-2020 season. As it was a pretty disappointing year, the Knicks went 21-45, don’t expect too many high grades. Without further ado, let us get right into the grades:
Julius Randle – C
Now you may be wondering, how on earth is Julius Randle getting a D+, he averaged 20 points per game and 10 rebounds per game, well, if you watched the Knicks this year you probably know why. Randle was a turnover machine, and he didn’t space the floor well at all. He was supposed to lift this team-up, and instead, he basically destroyed it. His usage rate was through the roof, and he acted like a point-forward when that should not have been his role. This was probably the most disappointing free-agent signing, and the sad thing is we basically traded Kristaps Porzginis for him.
RJ Barrett – C+
I may be giving RJ a little too much credit here, but that’s because we never really got to see him with the ball in his hands. If RJ wants to become a very good player in the league, he will need to work on his shot, but we can the potential is already there when it comes to driving to the rim and playing solid perimeter defense. Sure, he may have had a really inefficient year, but put the ball in his hands a lot more next year and he will definitely get a much higher grade next year.
Elfrid Payton – B
Elfrid was probably the best free-agent signing we had this year. When he came back from his injury, the team looked a lot different and we starting winning plenty more games. Elfrid was great at moving the ball and finding the open man. The only problem with Elfird is that he really needs to work on his shot to open up the pick and roll with Mitch and have more options on the offensive end. I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing him back (one of 3 players I wouldn’t be mad about bringing back), but I think we will go with the route of drafting a PG. Anyway, Elfird had a pretty solid year, and he can definitely be a valuable contributor to any team he is on.
Mo Harkless – B
Because of COVID, we really didn’t get to see a whole lot from Mo, but what I saw he can definitely be a great bench player on any team. Mo is a solid 3 and D guy, and he is someone I would definitely be open to bringing back.
Reggie Bullock – B-
Just like Mo, we really didn’t get to see a lot of Reggie due to his injury. Reggie is another solid 3 and D guy, but Reggie isn’t a consistent shooter and he can have off-nights, but time to time he can get on fire. It was a pretty average year from Reggie, but him being inconsistent and injury-prone scares me for the future.
Mitchell Robinson – B+
Mitch was definitely the best player on our team this year. However, I wish he actually started games this year. The whole year he was behind Gibson, which was hard to watch. Mitch is our future center, so I want to see him going up against the best of the best C’s in the game. Mitch still has fouling issues, which will definitely hurt his minutes and consistency. I also wish we saw Mitch take some shots outside of 3 feet from the basket. If Mitch can get some kind of shot, he will be a problem. However, we are only basing it off of this season, and we saw Mitch definitely get better with rebounding and defense, but now its time for him to really expand his game.
Frank Ntilikina – B-
Frank Ntilikina definitely improved somewhat on the offensive game, especially due to his increase in confidence and aggressiveness, which is a bright positive. This was especially shown in his last game before the NBA was suspended, where he had his first twenty point game against the Hawks. We know how good Frank Ntilikina is on the defensive end, but now he needs to gain a consistent jump shot. We also saw an improvement in his vision. Frank Ntilikina right now is a solid bench point guard, but he can become a low tier starter like a Patrick Beverley if his offensive game keeps improving. Remember, he is only 22.
Kevin Knox – C-
I have to say, we had many underachieving players this year, but probably the most disappointing player this year was Kevin Knox. Of course, the decrease in minutes had a lot to do with that, but he went substantially down in every major statistic. Kevin Knox was statistically the most inefficient and worst player in the league last year as a rookie, but us Knicks fans saw glimpses of potential. It almost felt like this season lost all of the very small amounts of confidence he had. Knox did improve on the defensive end this year, especially down low, however, his perimeter defensive still needs a lot of work. He desperately needs to find his shot back, and drive to the basket more. He is a lanky forward with somewhat of a good handle, so he is a perfect player in the league right now, but his offensive, defensive, and confidence need a lot of work.
Bobby Portis – B-
Bobby Portis honestly didn’t have a terrible year this year, but for the amount of money we were paying him (15.5 million), I was expecting a bit more. Bobby was one of few players that somewhat helped spread the floor, and he was solid on the defensive end. The problem with Bobby is that he needs the ball in his hands to have a positive impact on the offensive end, and he is sometimes very inefficient. Don’t expect the Knicks to bring him back next year, especially on his 15 million dollar option, but he can definitely be a valuable bench piece for any team.
Taj Gibson – B
Taj Gibson was honestly solid this year, but because he was starting ahead of Mitch, he didn’t get a lot of love from Knick fans. What people don’t realize is that he only played 15 minutes per game, so he didn’t really take a lot of time from Mitch. Gibson is a great small-ball center, who grabs a lot of boards, and can play pretty well in the post and has a solid mid-range shot. Gibson lost a lot of his defensive intensity, and can’t really shoot the 3. Gibson would be one of the few Knicks I wouldn’t be mad to bring back but as a bench player.
Wayne Ellington – D-
Literally didn’t do his one job which was hitting the 3. Had maybe 4 games where he actually contributed and changed the games when he was on fire. Too inconsistent, and doesn’t do anything else on the offensive end besides hitting 3’s.
Dennis Smith Jr – D
It hurts to give DSJ a D, especially because we traded KP for him. DSJ was very injury prone this year, his shot got worse, and he lost his confidence. This may be the end of DSJ’s Knick tenure, and it would be a very bad look for the front office.
*Damyean Dotson really didn’t get the opportunity he should’ve gotten this year, so it’s hard to give him a grade. He is an amazing 3 & D guy, and I would be very upset if he let him walk this summer.