Power Ranking Knicks Roster Based on Regular-Season Performance
If you want to gauge how the Knicks' 2021-22 campaign played out, that might be the best measure—not that Thibodeau avoided an ouster, but the fact that the front office was forced to make a decision about retaining the reigning Coach of the Year.
After posting their first winning record and scoring their first playoff berth since 2012-13 last season, the Knicks crashed back to earth this time around. Regardless of how their final three games play out, they are guaranteed to have a losing record and head back to the lottery.
How New York landed in this position is a tale of failures at virtually every level. For a large chunk of the roster, this was a campaign to forget.
To dig deeper into what went wrong—and the few things that went right—we're here to rank the entire roster based on each player's performance.
Unranked: Feron Hunt
Inked to a two-way pact in mid-March, Hunt has yet to see the floor for the big league Knicks
16. Ryan Arcidiacono
It's tempting to spare Arcidiacono from the rankings, since he has logged just 40 minutes across eight games since joining the team in January. But given this group's ongoing issues at the point guard spot, it's telling that the 28-year-old failed to lock down a regular role.
15. Cam Reddish
While the front office deemed Reddish worthy of sacrificing a protected first-round pick in a January trade with the Atlanta Hawks, the coaching staff was slower to come around on the third-year swingman. It took him nearly a month to see consistent floor time, and a month later a shoulder injury forced him off the floor for good.
14. Miles McBride
McBride is a tricky evaluation because he impressed in the areas he was supposed to by making his presence felt as a defender and distributor (40 assists against five turnovers). But there's only so much you can praise a point guard who's shooting 30.3 percent from the field and 24.6 percent from the perimeter.
13. Jericho Sims
New York's other two-way recipient, Sims has fared OK in limited action. He's a big body who can play above the rim, but he also has nearly as many fouls (55) as points (68).
12. Kemba Walker
Statistically, Walker wasn't terrible. He netted 11.6 points and 2.0 threes in just 25.6 minutes per night while nearly tripling his 1.3 turnovers with 3.5 assists. But he was a walking target on defense, and the Knicks were often at their worst when he was in the game (minus-11.3 net differential, per NBA.com). New York also deemed him expendable and shut him down in late February.
11. Nerlens Noel
Noel was mostly fine when he played, although his offense was nonexistent (5.4 points per 36 minutes, per Basketball Reference). But he had a terrible time shaking the injury bug and hasn't seen the floor since early February.
The Middle Class
10. Taj Gibson
While Gibson's minutes would perhaps be better spent as developmental time for a youngster, at least he's still mostly solid when he sees the floor. He remains active on the glass and the defensive interior, and he deserves a slight tip of the cap for venturing out to the perimeter every now and then (career-high 14 threes on 38.9 percent shooting).
9. Evan Fournier
The Knicks added Fournier for offense, and he's been relatively successful providing it (14.2 points on 42.0/39.3/71.2 shooting). But the defense is 8.9 points worse per 100 possessions when he plays, per NBA.com, and his 2.1 assists are his fewest since 2014-15.
8. Quentin Grimes
Once Grimes got into New York's rotation, only injuries could force him out. Earning Thibodeau's trust as a rookie isn't easy, but Grimes, last year's 25th overall pick, did it with feisty defense and on-target shooting (38.1 percent from three).
7. Derrick Rose
As (unfortunately) per usual, Rose was really good until he was injured. He had multiple surgeries on his right ankle and only hit the hardwood 26 times, but he still managed to supply 17.6 points and 5.8 assists per 36 minutes with a 44.5/40.2/96.8 shooting slash.
6. Julius Randle
If we were grading Randle's season, he might get a shrug emoji. The game isn't all about counting categories, but it's still hard to dismiss the fact that he has paced this group in points (20.1, tied with RJ Barrett), rebounds (9.9) and assists (5.1). But his shooting rates have sagged, his impact has faltered (minus-9.6 net differential) and his leadership hasn't exactly earned stellar marks.
The Best of the Bunch
5. Obi Toppin
Toppin's season basically boils down to an extended plea for more playing time. The eighth overall pick in 2020 averages fewer than 17 minutes per game, but he almost always finds ways to argue for more. It would help if he found a three-ball (26.8 percent) or improved his defense, but the Knicks need to let him sink or swim sooner rather than later.
4. Alec Burks
Burks is a veteran swingman often forced to run point, and the fact that he is playing out of position makes it more impressive that he's nearly tripling his 1.0 turnovers per game with 2.9 assists. He also earns high marks for his defensive effort and outside shooting (career-high 150 triples at a 40.2 percent clip).
3. RJ Barrett
Knicks fans still await the All-Star leap of Barrett, the third overall pick of the 2019 draft. It's been discouraging to see his shooting rates trend the wrong direction (41.0/34.6/72.1 slash), but he remains the best internal hope of unearthing a star—either by developing into one or serving as the primary trade chip to bring one to the Big Apple.
2. Immanuel Quickley
Consistency remains a struggle for Quickley, but that's to be expected of a 22-year-old sophomore. His three-point shooting has dipped a bit (34.6 percent), but he has leveled up as a playmaker (3.3 assists against 1.2 turnovers) and paces the rotation regulars with a plus-12.5 net differential.
1. Mitchell Robinson
Robinson has given the front office plenty to think about with unrestricted free agency potentially awaiting him this summer. He provides a vertical presence above the rim, which has manifested in a scorching 76.1 field-goal percentage and 12.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes. He's a difference-maker when healthy (which he has been this season), albeit a limited one since his offensive range doesn't reach beyond the restricted area.