The Knicks are a meme. And it’s sad that I’m not lying. They fell hard after continuously failing at rebuilding: purposely losing to gather good draft picks for the future. However, with the recent trade of Kristaps Porziņģis, an all-star 25-year-old, from the New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks for DeAndre Jordan and Dennis Smith Jr., a respectable veteran and rising young star, things might begin clicking for the Knicks.
The social response to this trade was the same for any decision made by the Knicks; it was met with a flood of fan bashing and ridicule. And that reaction was warranted. Porzingis, out since Feb. 8 with a torn ACL, has been the gem of the organization. He’s a 7’3 power forward who can shoot from behind the three-point line and dish out passes like a guard, a rare and mythical sight, a unicorn of the basketball world. He was on par with Joel Embiid, widely regarded as the best big man in the league.
But the Knicks threw it away like many players and picks before. Even worse, it was for 30-year-old Jordan and an underwhelming 22-year-old Dennis Smith Jr. However, many Knicks fans neglected to look past these surface facts. Sure Jordan is old, and Dennis Smith Jr. has been underwhelming but Jordan has been averaging a double-double, where his points and rebounds are double digits, and Smith just recently posted 31 points against the Pistons. Smith’s averaging similar stats to Malcolm Brogdon, former Rookie of the Year, despite being five years younger.
Either way, Porziņģis was dissatisfied with the “culture of the Knicks.” And I don’t blame him. We’ve been tanking for years but by no means was this trade terrible. Porziņģis was going to leave either way as a free agent in the summer, and the Knicks desperately needed veteran presence, something found in DeAndre Jordan. As a bonus, we also got a young star in Dennis Smith Jr.
But will we ever get to be a championship caliber team? Oh boy, we are nowhere close. As good as DeAndre Jordan is, he’s getting old. He doesn’t have a reliable jumper like Dirk Nowitzki, so his chances of playing until 40 like Nowitzki are slim. And as promising as Dennis Smith Jr. is, his inconsistency cannot be overlooked.
If we are to be a championship caliber team, we must strengthen our front court as our chances of keeping Enes Kanter, a double-double machine, have been decreasing steadily in the past few days. And we most definitely need to pursue one of the superstars rumored to move to the Knicks: Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. If we are able to sign them, deepen our bench, and prioritize the front court, then, finally, our chances of a championship look bright.