Josh Hart was wide open at the top of the key.
Julius Randle just didn't feel like the target of that pass.
Jalen Brunson turning the ball over felt like an apropos.
Regardless, the end of the 2022-2023 New York Knicks Season is here and it hurts. It definitely hurts. Yet, for the first time in SOOOOOOOOO LONGGGGGG, I have what's called, hope. Hope!
As the youngest team in the NBA Finals, and one that fell just two games short of the Eastern Conference Finals, this team - heck, this organization! - is very much on the right path.
This year was fun, and at the same time rewarding. Next year will surely come with some expectations, many of which have already started, including the latest need for a superstar. We all know how that goes. There is already a lot of dumb mock trades and ridiculous narratives that are driving me nuts.
Regardless, it was a good year. We very much need to say that more.
Here are five really salient thoughts as we head toward the off-season.
Jalen Brunson is that Guy
I love this dude, man. He really might be my favorite Knick since Allan Houston. Yes, I'm a fan of Julius Randle, and that is more in a supportive,-I'm-behind-this-story-wherever-it-goes sort of want. When it comes to Brunson, I'm a straight-up fanboy.
I don't have to spew words here to describe him or shower him with praise. The game is there. But what has drawn me to him more than anything is his leadership.
I haven't seen that since, well...Ewing?
Keep Josh Hart
Please resign Josh Hart. Hart needs to stay a Knick. He's found a home. And it's here, in New York City.
The guy just does everything. Seriously, everything.
Few Stars, Choose Stars
PLEASE don't get trigger-happy with available "stars" on the market. I'm already unsure how I feel about the Karl-Anthony Towns early rumors.
All I'm saying is don't trade the picks and our young guys for someone who is beyond their prime, or unable to carry their current team.
Don't mess this up for the quick fix - because there is none.
Keep this Team Together
Okay, it's time to get all controversial and issue "hot takes" or whatever it is we do in sports discourse these days.
Place me in the crazy (or rational?) pool that believes you keep this unit/core together - yes, that includes Julius Randle - and you move forward. EVERY team goes through some sort of road to the top. The Knicks were the YOUNGEST TEAM IN THE PLAYOFFS. Why would you mess with that?
Also, in addressing the obvious, who are you trading Randle for? Who is the sure-fire needle-mover that you're getting back in a deal to move Randle?
By the way, Randle is a 3rd Team All-NBA. There is supreme value there. Soooo what?! Trade the Bum!
I'm all for improving the bench, continuing to move forward, and taking one step closer as a unit.
The Knicks have something that has escaped them for so long, and that no one is discussing - continuity. Which ultimately leads to culture.
The Knicks have a culture. Let's let that grow.
Give the Knicks and their staff their flowers for developing Mitch Robinson.
RJ Barrett unlocked something in this playoff run. I need Barrett to be a better shooter.
I would love for Grimes to take another step - possibly becoming a more reliable shooter.
Obi Toppin has one more year in orange and blue - I strongly believe that.
Plus, whatever sorcery Leon Rose will work on Draft Night - as he always does.
Add/ Improve Shooting
It was a problem all year.
I know, there was Evan Fournier - but Thibs is not a Fournier guy. He's likely on his way somewhere this summer.
Give me a knockdown shooter that can stay on the floor in Thib's defensive scheme.
Give me some depth off the bench - you know, beyond Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier who awkwardly took up space and roles on the bench.
I hate to say it - Max Strus and Gabe Vincent are free agents. They lit us up.