As we head into the 2023-24 season, the Knicks have very few questions. The club is coming off a second round playoff exit and bringing back eight of its nine rotation players from last year. The head coach is the same as well and the team’s lead personnel decision maker Leon Rose is also still at the helm.
Though we know what this team is, there are still some questions about a few of the individual players on the team. Here’s a look at the three Knicks facing the most questions.
PG Immanuel Quickley
The Knicks’ largest question heading into the start of the 2023-24 season is Immanuel Quickley’s looming contract extension. If Quickley and the Knicks can’t agree on an extension, the guard will become a restricted free agent next summer.
After a sterling regular season that saw him finish second in Sixth Man of the Year voting in his third year, Quickley’s value around the league increased. It’s hard to find young guards capable of impacting both ends of the floor and playing multiple roles.
However, Quickley did disappear for much of New York’s playoff run, averaging 9.0 points while shooting just 34.8 percent from the field and 24.3 percent from the three-point line in eight games. It’s a small sample size but a concern with how he fits with this team in the long-term.
Quickley just turned 24, so there’s still room for growth. But as we saw in the postseason, Jalen Brunson played over 40 minutes in six of New York’s 11 postseason games. Is there space for a backup guard to earn $20-$25 million annually if there’s no room to close games and play over 30 minutes?
When the Knicks acquired Donte DiVincenzo, it was clear that he could play in different lineups alongside Brunson and play both guard positions. With a four-year, $50 million deal, DiVincenzo also represents a potential cheaper alternative if Quickley’s asking price gets too expensive.
SG RJ Barrett
Entering his fifth NBA season, RJ Barrett has dealt with major bouts of inconsistency throughout his career. His skillset doesn’t necessarily complement Brunson and Randle’s games and he shot a career-worst 31 percent on 390 three-point attempts last season. Still, Barrett entices with an ability to get into the paint and to the free-throw line.
Barrett will look to find balance between two roles. As a starter, he will have to find ways to better complement Brunson and Julius Randle in the offense.
However, when the two primary options sit, Barrett will have more autonomy playing with New York’s bench lineup. Can he find the right balance between looking for his own shot and creating for others? Can he improve off the ball?
The potential improvements Barrett can make, could have a significant impact on New York’s ceiling this season.
SG Quentin Grimes
After a slow start, Quentin Grimes became a central piece in New York’s success last season. The third year guard fills a role as a 3-and-D wing. Grimes often guarded the best perimeter options from the opposition and is also the team’s best catch and shoot option in the starting lineup.
Still, there were times he disappeared in the team’s offense. Being able to attack closeouts and add more juice to his game off the dribble could have a positive impact on the Knicks.
Though he’s penciled in as New York’s starter at the two-guard, Barrett, Quickley, Josh Hart and DiVincenzo are all capable of taking minutes at his spot. Grimes will be up for a contract extension next summer so this season is important as he further defines his role.
When you look at the annual salaries of 3-and-D guards such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($14.7 million) and Luguentz Dort ($15.3 million), it’s easy to see Grimes continuing an upward trajectory and looking for an extension in the same range.
With Quickley and Grimes’ contract situations plus looming contract extensions for Brunson and Randle, this Knicks team will get expensive, leading to some tough decisions down the road.