When the New York Knicks hired Leon Rose as team president, almost everyone was eager to know his vision. Rumors circulated about his intentions, but rarely did we manage to peer into the mind the main basketball decision maker in New York.
The silence was finally broken, and one of Rose’s first orders was to commit to the long-term development of the younger players on the roster.
New York’s reconstruction efforts under Director General Scott Perry focused on two key points of emphasis: one was to free up space for significant periods of free agency; and the other was to enhance the NBA Draft as a means of finding critical talent.
In a recent interview with Mike Breen of MSG Network, Rose made it clear that the next manager will be in charge of developing young players above all else.
For those who can’t see the video, Rose made this poignant comment about her quest for the next Knicks manager.
“We want to find the right leader who can develop our young players and make everyone responsible,” said Rose. “And take us from development to becoming a perennial winner. We also want someone we think is collaborative with the front office and someone who when you are in that mess and when you look at that coach’s eyes, every player who looks at him knows that that person is driving the ship and going to do the job. “
New York has a promising harvest of emerging talent on the roster. In terms of players who are already producing, RJ Barrett is 20 years old, Mitchell Robinson is 22 years old and Julius Randle is a 25 year old veteran.
New York also has the likes of 21 year old Ignas Brazdeikis, 20 year old Kevin Knox, 21 year old Frank Ntilikina and 22 year old Kenny Wooten under contract.
That list also includes 22-year-old Dennis Smith Jr., whom Rose has called a “special talent”.
Rose will be lucky enough to also have a lot of draw proposals to work with during the rebuilding process. In 2020, New York is about to have overall selections nos. 6, 27 and 38.
This gives Rose the flexibility to find a key piece of the puzzle in the NBA Draft or pack those chosen in an exchange for a bigger name.
Flexibility is not something the Knicks have created for themselves in the past few seasons. As such, Rose inherited a much healthier organization than some of her predecessors were able to do.
That doesn’t exactly guarantee future success, but so far Rose has said all the right things for a team that needs to be patiently aggressive.
It is entirely possible that the current core of players will not be able to bring the Knicks back to the playoffs. It is also possible that the Knicks may not be able to find the kind of talent they are looking for at the NBA 2020 Draft or in a free agency.
New York will inevitably try to follow in these footsteps; signing a superstar will always be a priority. Rather than just freeing up space on the hat and saying, “We have the money to sign you up now,” however, Rose plans to build an attractive platform for players to perform on.
The clearest path to this success is to develop young players on the roster and establish the kind of winning culture that has been missing for the better part of 20 years.
Perhaps Barrett, Robinson and the 2020 lottery pick will prove to be the heart of the future for a team that already has a rising star on both ends of the floor. Perhaps it will burn all to ashes and the Knicks will be forced to press the reset button again.
Regardless of what happens, Rose is committed to using the resources that are available to him in pursuit of better days.