Knicks offseason preview: Build around newly-formed core

Kristaps Porzingis and  Carmelo Anthony will be joined by Derrick Rose next season.
Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony will be joined by Derrick Rose next season. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

The Knicks will enter free agency in July in great shape. Last week’s trade for Derrick Rose solidified a core three that president Phil Jackson can build around.

Although they will have enough room to sign a max-contract player, most of the top names likely won’t come (Kevin Durant) or won’t fit (DeMar DeRozan) on this team. That said, the best course may be pursuing mid-level guys to fill roles.

Here’s a look at what the Knicks could do this summer as they build around Carmelo Anthony, Rose and Kristaps Porzingis.

Who’s there?

Other than new coach Jeff Hornacek’s core three, reserves Kyle O’Quinn and Justin Holiday are it.

With Rose in the fold, Melo can now more easily share the scoring load with his supporting cast. That was a must, given Anthony’s age (32) and mileage (902 games played).

Porzingis was a rookie revelation, and expectations of growth will be high for the 7-3 Latvian. He could become a stretch center now that Robin Lopez is gone.

What do they need?

Defense should be the top priority. Rose isn’t a stopper, so a defensive-minded shooting guard who can defend the other team’s top guard should be priority No. 1.

Anthony’s defensive deficiencies are no secret, and as he ages that won’t get any better. Playing him at the four mitigates the problem to a point, but a fleet-footed swingman to start at small forward is another need.

Perimeter scoring isn’t Rose’s forte, so if either of the above needs is filled with a 3-point threat, all the better. The second unit will need scoring punch, too.

What could they do?

Marvin Williams is a fit in the frontcourt. He’s a 3-and-D guy that knows his role and would allow the Knicks to play Melo or him interchangeably at the forward spots.

Gerald Henderson has similar strengths and, at 6-5, has solid size in the backcourt.

The return of former Knick Jamal Crawford would make sense. He’s a three-time Sixth Man award winner whose range knows no bounds.

Derrick Williams, Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway all are candidates to return and fill out depth, as well.