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Strengths and Weaknesses of the New York Knicks Roster for the 2020-21 NBA Season

| December 14, 2020 8:25 am PDT
New York Knicks Roster Analysis for 2020-21

The New York Knicks have lacked direction for a long time and looked like one of the most clueless franchises in the NBA. There are some signs that the organization finally has a plan that could lead to an improvement, starting from this year.

I explore the Knicks roster for the NBA 2020-21 season to find out if that’s truly the case. My goal is not only to determine how good the team is right now but also the potential for the future of one of the world’s biggest basketball organizations.

New York Knicks Full Roster for 2020-21

Before I try to dissect the good and the bad sides of the New York Knicks, let’s take a look at all players that are currently part of the roster.

  • Elfrid Payton
  • Austin Rivers
  • Frank Ntilikina
  • Dennis Smith Jr.
  • Immanuel Quickley
  • RJ Barrett
  • Alec Burks
  • Myles Powell
  • Kevin Knox
  • Reggie Bullock
  • Ignas Brazdeikis
  • Julius Randle
  • Obi Toppin
  • Skal Labissiere
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • Mitchell Robinson
  • Nerlens Noel
  • Omari Spellman

Let’s clear up several important things. First of all, the group of players under contract will be reduced to 15 to comply with the NBA rules. Guys like Immanuel Quickley and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are likely going to get cut.

The second factor to consider is that Julius Randle might be traded either before the season has started or in the early days of the 2020-21 NBA campaign. The Knicks have plenty of power forwards, and they drafted Obi Toppin with their lottery pick who plays in that position.

Since nothing is confirmed yet, this post was written under the assumption that Randle will stay with the Knicks. With that in mind, let’s move on to the analysis.

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

First thing’s first, so I will begin with the potential New York Knicks starting lineup. According to what we know so far, it’s likely going to look like that.

  • Point guard: Elfrid Payton
  • Shooting guard: RJ Barret
  • Small forward: Kevin Knox
  • Power forward: Julius Randle
  • Center: Mitchell Robinson

Some people believe that Obi Toppin could start as a small forward instead of Kevin Knox, but I don’t think that will be the case. That could create some problems offensively, so I believe that the rookie will be on the bench, at least initially.

That leaves us with Elfrid Payton and RJ Barret in the backcourt. The point guard is a decent playmaker and athlete who probably shouldn’t be an NBA starter, but he is a decent fit next to the Knicks biggest prospect.

Barret had a shaky rookie season, but he showed some potential, and he was part of a bad team, so it’s hard to be too harsh. He should be better in his second year and adding a guy like Obi Toppin who should contribute offensively right away. Several shooters on the bench can help.

Julius Randle will be the main offensive weapon of the Knicks starting lineup, and I expect to see around 20 points from him in 2020-21.

Another important player is Mitchell Robinson should be better this year, and he will serve as the defensive anchor.

To be honest, most of the starters are really young, and it’s hard to determine where they stand right now. I believe that an experienced coach like Tom Thibodeau should make the Knicks better right away, but his best players are still too young to win now.

The main goal would be to develop them and see who will be good enough to stay. That’s why I don’t expect anything special from the starters in 2020-21.

New York Knicks Bench for 2020-21

The good news is that the Knicks have a much better bench than last year. Guys like Alec Burks, Reggie Bullock, Nerlens Noel, Austin Rivers, and Omari Spellman contribute a good combination of outside shooting and defense, with some of them bringing the much-needed experience to the team too.

If you add Obi Toppin and fan-favorite Frank Ntilikina, the Knicks actually have decent depth. Thibodeau will have something to work with, and a lot of players from the second unit should receive big minutes.

Even Dennis Smith Jr. managed to impress the new head coach, so he should have a chance to play a role in the upcoming campaign.


The overall impression is that the roster depth added in the offseason and the new head coach make the Knicks a much better team. The organization still lacks the quality to compete for the playoffs and have a winning record, but the progress is obvious.

The New York Knicks have plenty of young players to start a rebuild and a better group of athletes than last year so that the team won’t be a punching bag once again.

The fans finally have some hope for the future, and while it’s still early days, that’s better than what we’ve seen for what seems like forever.

Do you agree with my assessment of the Knicks roster for the 2020-21 NBA season, or do you think I might be missing something? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, I recommend you to check our NBA blog for more similar posts on other organizations. We also have a betting guide on the league that can help you make better decisions in the upcoming campaign.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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