The New York Knicks concluded a deal that will send guard Wayne Ellington and forward Jeremy Tyler to the Sacramento Kings in return for Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw. There’s not much to say about this lateral trade that doesn’t really impact either team in terms of upgrading rather than just better balancing their rosters.
There is one major benefit for the Knicks on this trade, though, and I’m not talking about the two non-guaranteed contracts which will free up even more cap space for the 2015 free agency class that will host Marc Gasol, Lamarcus Aldrich and Rajon Rondo. Besides further adjusting the roster in terms of getting rid of another guard and adding a veteran backup to Carmelo Anthony at the small forward position in Outlaw, I’m talking about pure energy from the young Acy, a 23-year-old stretch forward who stands 6-foot-7.
He averaged 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds during last season, but that is not why he came to New York. The main reason he is now a Knick is his energy, his enthusiasm and his defensive effort.
With a roster full of veterans, injury-prone players and all-around chemistry issues, the Knicks had a dismal 2013-14 season, bringing everything but excitement to fans watching the team play at Madison Square Garden. The days of Linsanity are gone, and the fans deserve that kind of energy again.
Team president Phil Jackson has stated in the past that he will demand 100 percent defensive effort at all times and would like to see more transition plays from his players, known during the past few years as defensively weak and a half court boring team. With Acy on the roster he will get just that. The third-year player out of Baylor University is an athletic forward, avid defender and strong finisher. His points come mainly from the paint (what could prove to be a bad feature for the triangle offense), but it’s not like he is going to get major minutes per game anyway.
The Knicks need his boost of energy in the locker room, in those bad days at the gym and most importantly during games. One dunk can bring a crowd back to the game, and one dunk can bring a team back to life. During the NBA Summer League, Acy helped his team maintain this kind of energetic performance by being aggressive and bullying his way to the rim over and over, earning the love of fans and journalists alike.
All in all, the trade is more about clearing the atmosphere around the Knicks’ 2013-14 season and less about actual roster improvements. Jackson is still not done with the roster management, as he is reportedly still looking to deal Pablo Prigioni for a future draft pick, but so far he’s been pitch perfect in terms of adjusting his roster to better balance positional depth and energy level versus smart play. Energy is what basketball needs and it’s what Acy will bring to New York.