New York Knicks: The Center Conversation

The New York Knicks didn’t find much success after signing Hail Mary free agents Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah prior to the start of the season. Though this is true, we did see signs of life from the center position, and maybe a little too much.

Willy Hernangomez won rookie of the month for the final month of the regular season after posting averages of: 12.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG on 49% FG in the month of April. Although the Knicks were in full tank at this point, the success of this young center raises questions. Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah, and Willy Hernangomez. You waive one, start one, and bench one. Here’s my solution.

Joakim Noah

would be my choice for a buyout option. I know it’s expensive, but as Phil said in his latest press conference (one of few), it’s time for a rebuild. He’s been a great rebounder this season, and though I had all faith he still had a place in this league, it’s time for him to go. His offense is lacking, and he’s a huge liability to keep on roster due to his latest issues with failing drug tests. I think Joakim is a great guy, but after his fall out with the Bulls, he wasn’t destined to remain in the NBA.

Kyle O’Quinn

is my favorite for the starting position. I know you’re thinking: “Wait a minute. Were we or were we not just talking about the kid playing great?” Yes, however I find that as young as he is, Hernangomez would play better in the second rotation. Kyle has been everything the Knicks needed on all the wrong occasions this season. His performance against the Orlando Magic comes to mind. In just 24 minutes (he started this game), O’Quinn posted: 14 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 blocks in a win for New York. A huge defensive presence, the backup center for New York posted four or more blocks on (6) different occasions. Given Willy’s youth and the state of the rebuild, I’m starting the 5-year veteran this upcoming season without a doubt.

Willy Hernangomez

has been fantastic for New York this season. Aside from winning the last rookie of the month award, he’s been a reliable backup in the absence of Noah. In comparison to his older counterpart (O’Quinn), Willy is certainly more reliable off the glass and likely offensively. On (9) different occasions this season, the young center posted 15+ points, and he tallied (11) double-doubles in total. Despite his strong gameplay for a rookie, I believe he would thrive off playing the role of secondary for one more season. Placing Willy on the bench allow him the best use of his minutes, and the ability to be a bigger part of the offense (as opposed to having to play alongside Carmelo/Porzingis).

In Conclusion

I think the solution is simple for New York, regarding the center position, I don’t think anyone is capable of fixing this mess as a whole. Finding some way to dump Noah’s contract, and pushing O’Quinn to the starting 5 would be an adequate short term fix. Kyle has shown flashes of promise, and Willy will definitely be a 5 spot option in New York’s future. It’s just all about timing, something the New York Knicks may be running out of.

All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by the New York Times.

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