2021 New York Knicks Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Elfrid Payton||4||Derrick Rose||4||Immanuel Quickley||5|
|Shooting Guard||RJ Barrett||9||Theo Pinson||21|
|Small Forward||Reggie Bullock||25||Alec Burks||18||Kevin Knox||20|
|Power Forward||Julius Randle||30||Obi Toppin||1|
|Center||Nerlens Noel||3||Mitchell Robinson||23|
The Knicks have spent the past few seasons being one of the teams that NBA fans laugh at because of their terrible decision making and their poor level of play, but things might be looking up for them this season. They came out of the draft with Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, both of which project to be good NBA players, didn’t spend a lot of money by offering bad players large contracts, and they brought in a good young coach in David Fizdale. Fizdale was fired by the Grizzlies in the middle of the season last year because he benched Marc Gasol, but he is highly-regarded as one of the best young coaches in the NBA. Fizdale is the Knicks’ 11th, yes 11th, head coach over the last 16 years so they could certainly benefit from having a stable a voice on the sideline. The biggest question mark surrounding the Knicks this season will be the health of their cornerstone forward, Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis doesn’t have much of a timetable for his return yet but he still isn’t running or participating in heavy activities outside of shuffling his feet, shooting, and walking at a brisk pace.
The Knicks have a blend of veterans and rookies that give them a decent amount of depth across the board but they lack All-Star level talent at every position with the injured Kristaps Porzingis being their only All-Star talent. After a good season for the Knicks last season, Trey Burke will battle Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina for the starting position at point guard in camp. Burke didn’t get a chance to start for the Knicks until late in the season but he was outstanding for them in a limited amount of games and posted a career-high 21 player efficiency rating on his way to 12.8 points and 4.7 assists per game. Ntilikina has been spending a lot of time in the gym this offseason and is poised to take over the position of backup point guard behind Trey Burke with the expectation of eventually taking over as the team’s starting point guard. Ntilikina is a defensive specialist that needs to work on his offensive game but should flourish under David Fizdale. Mudiay has the size and length to be a valuable asset for the Knicks but has yet to prove his worth and will likely sit behind Burke and Ntilikina at guard. Tim Hardaway Jr. should get the nod at the starting two-guard spot, if healthy, and is coming off a career year for the Knicks. He averaged 17.5 points per game last season but spent most of the season battling injuries and was only able to play in 57 games. Damyean Dotson should spend time backing up Hardaway Jr. this season and will get plenty of opportunities to play if Hardaway is unable to stay healthy or if the Knicks struggle this season.
Courtney Lee may be the favorite right now to start at the small forward position, and the Knicks could use his veteran presence and experience in the starting lineup, but Kevin Knox looks to be the real deal and could take over the starting job early in the season. Lee averaged just 12 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game last season but is still a decent defender and someone David Fizdale can rely on to hit from beyond-the-arc. Knox was exceptional for the Knick during their Summer League games and drew praise from people around the league but he is just 18 years old and thrusting him into the starting lineup or heavy minutes is a lot to ask of the young wing. Lance Thomas gives the Knicks another veteran presence and mentor at the small forward position for the Knicks to surround their youth with.
The newly acquired Mario Hezonja will step into the starting lineup at power forward with Porzingis sidelined and he will look to improve on a solid second-half of last season. He failed to look like the prospect he was regarded as when he was picked in 2015 but part of that could come down to the team that was around him in Orlando. Noah Vonleh will play behind Hezonja and his offensive efficiency will be a valuable asset to the Knicks second unit, while Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks could round out the position for the Knicks. Enes Kanter will once again start for the Knicks and brings his excellent offensive rebounding and scoring ability to the lineup, while rookie Mitchell Robinson will be his backup.