The New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns possess two of the best young NBA talents in Kristaps Porzingis and Devin Booker. However, despite these two gems, both the Knicks and Suns have been dreadful this season. Phoenix will finish with the NBA’s third or possibly second worst record, while the Knicks might actually mess up tanking and finish with the the eight worst record instead of the fourth.
As the closing of the 2016-17 NBA season draws closer and closer, major questions about the Knicks cloudy future loom overhead, while the Suns are quite loaded with young prospects. In fact, the Suns – in addition to Booker, have high-upside prospects like Dragan Bender, Alex Len, Marquese Chriss, TJ Warren, Tyler Ulis and have backcourt guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. Bledsoe and Knight are in their mid 20s and locked up for the next few years. In other words, Booker could be looked at as expendable for the Suns for the right price. You don’t usually hear that about 20 year-old, 6’6 shooting guards averaging 21.6 ppg in just their second season.
But this is where the potential trade of Kristaps Porzingis for Devin Booker gets interesting for both teams. For the sake of argument, lets take a conservative approach and have the Suns land the third or fourth pick, while the Knicks land either the fifth or sixth selection. In a Porzingis/Booker swap, the Suns suddenly have the potential to play KP and Bender at the 4/5 spots with a nice young rookie named Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson rounding out an extremely talented, albeit young, front line.
PHOENIX SUNS LINEUP:
PG: BRANDON KNIGHT
SG: ERIC BLEDSOE
SF: JAYSON TATUM / JOSH JACKSON
PF: DRAGAN BENDER
C: KRISTAPS PORZINGIS
BENCH: ALEX LEN, MARQUESE CHRISS, TJ WARREN, TYLER ULIS, ALAN WILLIAMS, TYSON CHANDLER, JARED DUDLEY
RECAP: The Suns have a ton of potential trade chips including the Miami Heat’s 2018 (Top 7 protected – unprotected 2019) and 2021 (unprotected) first round draft picks.
The Knicks, on the other hand, actually get the younger Booker as their two-guard for the next decade plus. In a league where guards and forwards have taken over, Booker could blossom into the game’s next great scorer – as he’s quickly already proving. Now, lets’ not forget that the Knicks still hold a high pick. And if the Knicks were smart, they would let Derrick Rose and his 45 year-old knees sign a massive deal elsewhere and draft his replacement, De’Aaron Fox. Phil Jackson, in just one move, could dramatically change the Knicks future and quite possibly his shaky start as Team President.
NEW YORK KNICKS LINEUP:
PG: DE’AARON FOX
SG: DEVIN BOOKER
SF: COURTNEY LEE
PF: CARMELO ANTHONY
C: WILLY HERNANGOMEZ
RECAP: Sorry to get your hopes up Knicks fans, this lineup has no shot at ever happening despite your coach, Jeff Hornacek specializing in the small ball/combo guard type offenses. Courtney Lee is a great 3 and D player who spreads the court and Melo has always played his best basketball at the four-spot. Hernangomez has turned in a nice rookie season and it should be enough to head into next season as the starter with Joakim Noah giving some minutes off the bench. The Knicks would also have some cap room to go after a player like Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, JJ Redick, PJ Tucker and/or Patrick Patterson to name a few.
Does this team get you very far in the Eastern Conference? Impossible to say seeing that there would be a rookie point guard in the lineup with another younger two-guard and center. It is, however, the right combination of youth and experience that could bring an exciting style to the Garden that hasn’t been seen in years. It’s a change that would draw criticism because of the Knick fans love affair with KP, but remember, these are the same Knick fans that were booing him just a few short years ago.
For the skeptics out there. What do the Cavs, Warriors, Rockets, Thunder, Blazers, Raptors, Wizards, Celtics all have in common besides having some of the best records and offenses in the game?
LeBron is the de facto PG with Kyrie essentially the two-guard, Steph/Klay, Harden/Gordon, Westbrook/Oladipo, Lillard/McCollum, Wall/Beal, Lowry/DeRozen and Thomas/Bradley. Hell, even the Jazz Gordon Hayward/George
Meanwhile, the NBA’s best big men are: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, and Andre Drummond.
A lot of stat stuffers, but you don’t exactly see these names playing deep into May and early June do ya? Oh, and Kristaps Porzingis hasn’t even broke into that aforementioned list yet…