A look at one of the recent acquisitions of New York Knicks, Dennis Smith Jr.
The much-discussed transaction by Kristaps Porzingis created a very entertaining trade deadline. There is a hot debate among fans of New York Knicks whether it is wise to go with the unicorn unicorn in exchange for the hope to sign two max free agents (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving ideally).
Because so much of this trade is dictated by potential and what "could be", it is important to also evaluate what the Knicks got in concrete in exchange for their former star player. Two future first round picks in 2021 and 2023 are fun and can be used as marketable assets to get extra players for two max. Free agents whose knicks are "confident" about acquiring, or they can actually continue to draw of young players, and they showed a recent ability to do successfully (Knox, Robinson and ironic Porzingis).
Let's ignore the expired contracts of DeAndre Jordan and others and focus on the tangible center of the trade for the Knicks: Dennis Smith Jr.
Let's remember the 2017 draft when the overwhelming consensus of Knick fans was Smith Jr. to design, but the former team president, Phil Jackson, decided to go with the promising guard from France, Frank Ntilikina. Well Knicks fans, the team finally secured it.
The plus points:
Smith Jr. is the best guard of New York Knicks since … Chauncey Billups? Jeremy Lin? The point is that it has been a long time ago that we have someone who takes the attack seriously and Smith Jr. certainly has the potential to do this successfully for many years to come.
Elite athletics from the waiting position is always a big advantage for a team and Smith has certainly shown that he has at least this skill. If he can solidify his jump shot and involve his teammates better, then we look at a potential all-star caliber player in the Eastern Conference. If the Knicks fully continue with free agency, they have at least a viable player / asset in Smith Jr.
The point to Porzingis, Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. to sell, was to unload the cap-space with the hope to be able to sign two Max-players. If the New York master plan succeeds and they sign Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker, they would certainly assume the guard role of the starting point, making Smith Jr. mainly from the selection would disappear.
The product from North Carolina State has already shown a disgruntled attitude in Dallas when he had less of an important role in the rise of Luka Doncic. But this negative can really be considered positive, because when this scenario comes out, it means that the Knicks have done something extraordinarily successful.
Also having Smith Jr. as a marketable asset will be very important for the Knicks in this scenario. After all, a big question has been asked: "If Durant and Irving join the Knicks, who will become their teammates?" Getting Smith Jr. has only advantages for the New York Knicks.