While Jose Calderon says he can play up-tempo basketball, the Knicks are not sold. Jerian Grant may develop into a solid reserve, and they have Tony Wroten but he is coming off knee surgery. With Jeff Hornacek as coach bringing an up-tempo offense — with some triangle elements — the Knicks need an upgrade at the point guard spot. Desperately.
There are a few free agents to chase this summer — Mike Conley is the top one on the market, if they can lure him out of Memphis. Just do not expect the Knicks to make a run at bringing Jeremy Lin back to Madison Square Garden, reports Marc Berman in the New York Post.
“If there’s something out there in free agency to bring in that guy, in between, that can help guide the younger guard and assist the older point guard, that would make the team better,’’ Hornacek added.
It’s not a strong crop of free-agent point guards, with Memphis’ Mike Conley leading the top tier. Resurgent Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony’s choice, is next, but some in the organization believe he hangs onto the ball too much. Brandon Jennings, D.J. Augustin, Ty Lawson, Jeremy Lin, Miami’s unsung Tyler Johnson, Aaron Brooks and Mario Chalmers are also free agents. Sources have indicated the Knicks consider Lawson’s off-court issues too big a risk and Lin’s defense too gaping.
Jeremy Lin was used perfectly by Steve Clifford in Charlotte last season — a sixth man with a green light to change the tempo, attack, and score. His defensive shortcomings are minimized against opposing second units. A lot of teams saw that and Lin is going to get paid well this summer in a market that favors the players.
But he’s not what the Knicks need.
If the Knicks can’t land Conley, then they might want to call up Atlanta and see what the cost is to get Jeff Teague (who has already been rumored in a Sixers trade). Brandon Jennings would certainly be an upgrade over what the Knicks have but he’s no lock-down defender, and he’s got to have the ball and create, he’s not great off it.
There may be no great option outside Conley, but the Knicks need to do something. This is their position of biggest need this season.