Knicks need Hardaway Jr. to boost, not bust

June, 28, 2013
6/28/13
6:56
PM ET


The Knicks won't have many easy opportunities to upgrade their roster over the next two summers.

But they had one on Thursday night. And they used it to draft Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. 24th overall.

We can spend countless hours debating the merit of that decision. But the bottom line is this: The Knicks desperately need their pick to work out.

Remember, barring a monumental trade, New York won't have an opportunity to upgrade the roster via free agency.

The Knicks have only the mini mid-level exception (worth approximately $3.1 million annually) and minimum contracts to hand out to free agents. And unless they make a significant roster move this summer or next year, the Knicks are likely to find themselves in a similar cap situation next summer, too.

And if you're hoping to improve via the 2014 draft, forget about it. New York sent its 2014 first-round pick to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade. The franchise's second-round pick in 2014 belongs to Houston, via the Marcus Camby sign-and-trade. Granted, they will have Oklahoma City's second-round pick next year, courtesy of the Ronnie Brewer deal last February. They can also get Sacramento's second-round pick if it falls between 56-60, via a previous trade. But that's it.

Neither of those picks will bring in one of the game-changing college players who are expected to enter next summer's draft. That's why the Knicks desperately need Hardaway Jr. to make an impact.

"These are the picks that can really make a difference," Glen Grunwald said. "We are hopeful that we made the right pick today, but only time will tell."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2