Although the New York Knicks took a huge step toward rehabilitating the franchise this season, the team’s loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals proves the Knicks aren’t quite there yet.
There is no doubt that the Knicks have a talented core. Unless something dramatic happens this offseason, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler will be the cornerstones of this franchise once the 2013-14 season tips off.
These three are good enough to make the Knicks into a playoff team, but they need help if they are going to give New York its first championship since 1973.
If the Knicks want to be successful, they have to surround these players with some key additions to give the team some depth.
Here’s what the Knicks need to add to become a true contender.
Re-sign their free agents
First things first.
It can’t be ignored that the Knicks might lose out on some of their most trusted assets in this free agency.
I already mentioned J.R. Smith, but Chris Copeland, Kenyon Martin and Pablo Prigioni could all leave the Big Apple and try their luck with another NBA team.
Copeland ended the regular season on a high note by scoring double digits in points in seven straight games. Prigioni adds a lot of ball security and stepped up for the Knicks in Game 6 of the series against the Boston Celtics and Game 2 against the Indiana Pacers.
Smith averaged 18 points last year, and finding a way to re-sign him must be the Knicks No. 1 priority.
Some spark off the bench
When Carmelo Anthony’s shot isn’t falling, the Knicks usually turn to J.R. Smith. However, in the playoffs, Smith was nowhere to be found.
He shot just 33.1 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from behind the arc, hardly what you would expect from your second option on offense.
The Knicks need to add another scorer who can take over the game in small bursts until Anthony gets a chance to regain his composure.
That player could very well be Nate Robinson.
Robinson is the kind of player who can get hot at the right moment and swing a game in the Knicks’ favor. That would have been invaluable in the Pacers series.
A backup center to relieve Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler is a solid center, but the poor guy was the Knicks’ only option for too many months.
Chandler started off by playing 29.5 minutes in November, but that number quickly rose to 35 minutes over the next few months.
He missed 16 of the last 20 games of the regular season and struggled to perform in the postseason.
The Knicks might have the possibility of drafting Jeff Withey with the No. 24 pick in the draft. The center out of Kansas would get the opportunity to work with one of the premier centers in the NBA and Chandler would be able to get some much-needed rest.
Knowing Mike Woodson, the Knicks might opt to sign a veteran like they did last year with Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace and Kenyon Martin.
The Knicks should consider taking a look at Andray Blatche, who told the NY Daily News he’s not going after the paycheck, he’s going after “what’s best for him.”
A backup point guard
The Knicks had a lot of success with playing Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton together during this season.
But Kidd turned 40 back in March and he didn’t score a single point in his last 10 games despite making 17 field-goal attempts.
If the Knicks decide to use their draft pick on a point guard, the most likely target would be Lorenzo Brown out of North Carolina State.
Brown averaged 12.4 PPG and 7.2 assists in his last season, and if he came to the Knicks, he would be under the tutelage of more than two decades of NBA knowledge in Felton and Kidd.