Grading Knicks' Biggest Moves from 2022 NBA Offseason

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2022

Grading Knicks' Biggest Moves from 2022 NBA Offseason

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    The 2022 NBA offseason may not be finished for the New York Knicks.

    They remain hot on the heels of Donovan Mitchell, and their potential trade packages seemingly trump anything else that might be on the board. If they can swing a deal for Mitchell, their roster would look dramatically different, and the same goes for their offseason evaluation.

    Still, a Spida swap is merely speculation at this point, so we'll instead focus on the biggest deals that did happen and evaluate them based on value and potential impact.

Signing Jalen Brunson

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    While Jalen Brunson just engineered a career campaign, the Knicks clearly see another gear he can reach.

    His 2021-22 per-game numbers were nice (16.3 points, 4.8 assists), but that production doesn't match up with his pay rate (four years, $104 million). That's doubly true when considering New York had to part with multiple players and draft picks to clear the space needed to sign Brunson.

    It isn't the worst gamble. Brunson is a three-point sniper (career 37.3 percent) and a slick scorer in the post. He competes defensively, and his playmaking should perk up in an offense that isn't dominated by Luka Doncic.

    Is Brunson worth all of that money, though? That's debatable. He struggles getting to the line, doesn't stripe many off-the-bounce threes and is more of a combo guard than a floor general, which isn't ideal for a 6'1" player.

    Grade: C

Re-Signing Mitchell Robinson

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    It hasn't always been easy to gauge Gotham's view of Mitchell Robinson, who has encountered multiple injury issues and only once averaged more than 26 minutes a night.

    Now, we at least have a better sense that the Knicks see him as a core contributor. The former second-round pick got a four-year, $60 million deal to stick around.

    That feels...well, pretty on the money, actually.

    Robinson is absurdly gifted with way more bounce than a 7'0", 240-pounder should be able to have. He's also limited offensively and not particularly valuable away from the basket, and that may never change.

    Grade: B-

Adding Isaiah Hartenstein

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    While the Knicks didn't have a glaring need at center—even after trading away Nerlens Noel, they had Jericho Sims, Julius Randle and Obi Toppin to help Robinson man the middle—they nevertheless lured Isaiah Hartenstein to town on a two-year, $16 million pact.

    If they find the right role for him, they could get their money's worth—if not a bargain.

    He has quietly morphed into one of the Association's most productive backup bigs. If nothing else, he leaves his fingerprints all over the stat sheet. This past season, his per-36-minutes averages included: 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.5 steals.

    His passing should play up in this system, and the Knicks will appreciate his work on the glass. He's a good player, it's just worth questioning the value of giving this kind of coin to a backup big.

    Grade: B+


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