After finishing the 2018-19 NBA season as one of the worst NBA teams in the league, the New York Knicks suffered another huge disappointment in the 2019 NBA offseason when they failed to acquire their top targets on the free agency market. Despite having enough salary cap space for two max superstars, the Knicks weren’t able to land any big names in the 2019 NBA free agency as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant chose to team up on the Brooklyn Nets while Kawhi Leonard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Compared to James Dolan’s initial expectations, the Knicks’ roster, as currently constructed, doesn’t have what it takes to contend for the NBA championship or even earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Betting site Odd Shark gave the Knicks the third-worst odds to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season. According to FiveThirtyEight, they only have a 2 percent chance of reaching the postseason.
However, despite not having a legitimate NBA superstar on their roster, there are some people who believe that the Knicks have the ability to change the narrative and prove their doubters wrong in the 2019-20 NBA season, including one of their latest free-agency acquisitions, Bobby Portis. In a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Portis confidently said that the Knicks have a realistic chance of ending their playoff drought next season.
“The naysayers, the haters, the people who are doubting us will say that we’re crazy as hell for saying that,” Portis said. “But we have a bunch of guys who are coming in each and every day with that log on their shoulder and that’s going to push us to become a great team. We have a lot of pieces who can play. I think we’re loaded at every position; there are two-to-three players who could start at every position. When you have that much talent, that rises the competitiveness and improves the team as a whole.”
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) July 20, 2019
On paper, it’s definitely hard to imagine the Knicks beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics in a best-of-seven series. The Knicks undeniably have a better roster compared to the last season, but all of their free-agency acquisitions – Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Morris, and Wayne Ellington – are yet to prove that they are capable of leading a team. In addition, the young core of Allonzo Trier, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, R.J. Barrett, and Damyean Dotson need more time to improve their game.
However, Bobby Portis believes that if they work together and build good chemistry, the Knicks’ team that consists of a group of guys who are hungry and have a “log on their shoulder” can shock the entire league in the 2019-20 NBA season.