Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks are headed into a very interesting offseason in which they need to make some major moves. Free agency is going to be the chance that they have to snag some established talent, and one name to keep an eye on is Atlanta Hawks‘ impending free agent power forward Paul Millsap.
Coming off of one of the worst regular seasons that the Knicks have had recently, they ended up compiling a 17-65 record. New York wound up with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, which will be an impact player for them as well. That being said, they need to bring in some legitimate pieces to help them contend next season. Millsap is exactly the type of player that they need at the power forward position and could help even out the scoring needs that they have.
During the 2014-15 season, Millsap averaged 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He shot 47.6 percent from the field overall and 35.6 percent from behind the three-point arc. Those numbers were extremely important to the Hawks’ success, but he was unable to come through when Atlanta needed him the most during the postseason.
At 30 years old, Millsap still has a few good years of basketball left in him. He has a very unique game and has the type of skill set that the Knicks need to put around superstar forward Carmelo Anthony. His ability to handle the basketball up the floor would fit into the Knicks’ system with Derek Fisher, and his experience would be a plus as well.
Anthony re-signed with the Knicks last offseason, but he ended up sitting out a good chunk of the year due to a knee injury. He dealt with young teammates who were still adjusting to the speed of the NBA and simply didn’t have a chance to turn things around.
Signing Millsap would provide an ideal running mate for Anthony and fill a major position of need for the Knicks. Last season, the Knicks had to trot out players like Lou Amundson and Jason Smith as their starting power forward. Those players aren’t terrible, but adding an All-Star like Millsap would be exactly what the Knicks need.
Millsap isn’t usually viewed as a dominant leader, but he brings those qualities to the court as well. He isn’t an extremely vocal player, but he can lead with his game and knows when to say something to his teammates. Even back during his tenure with the Utah Jazz, he was the leader of the team and showed that in particular with the Hawks during their playoff series against the Indiana Pacers last year.
One thing is for sure about the upcoming offseason, and that is the Knicks are going to be extremely aggressive. Jackson was embarrassed about the way the team played this year, and he isn’t going to allow that to happen in his second full season with them.
Expect to see Millsap be one of the many names on the Knicks’ radar this coming offseason. He is exactly what they need in order to take a big step back towards postseason contention, but he isn’t going to come cheap. Jackson will have to be willing to open up the checkbook in order to bring him on board.
Evan Massey is the Green Bay Packers beat writer for RantSports.com, and also contributes across the NFL, MLB and NBA portions of the site. Follow him on Twitter at @Massey_Evan and like him on Facebook.