Trading for Kyle Lowry Could’ve Saved the New York Knicks’ Season


Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Of the many things that went wrong for the New York Knicks this season, point guard play has to trump them all. After Jason Kidd struggled down the stretch and in the playoffs in 2012-13, the team expected production from the 1 slot to pick up this season and boy were they wrong.

Kidd ended up in a suit across town, in Brooklyn, coaching the Nets. Raymond Felton seemingly lost more and more offensive ability as the season went on. Pablo Prigioni has great vision and passing skills but of the other 29 starting point guards, there isn’t one he can stay in front of defensively. Iman Shumpert is the opposite; very good on the defensive side – often guarding the other team’s best backcourt player – but his offense seem to hit a ceiling this season and he hasn’t shown consistent scoring ability yet. Toure Murry showed some bright spots this season but is still very raw for the NBA level.

The point guard is supposed to be the game manager and there were several games this season in which the Knicks suffered from the lack of a true “floor general”. Winning just two more games would’ve made the difference between the final playoff spot and being stuck on the outside looking in, as the Knicks are now.

According to Basketball Reference, Kyle Lowry was responsible for nearly 12 wins(11.7 Win Share) on his own this season; more than Carmelo Anthony (10.7) and more than the group of Shumpert, Prigioni, Felton, Murry and Beno Udrih combined (8.3).

When you look at those numbers – Lowry won nearly 4 more games on his own than all of the Knicks’ point guards – it’s hard not to think that trading for Lowry could’ve saved this season. A trade bringing Lowry to New York was being discussed heavily before the New Year and made for some of the more noticeable rumors that never came to fruition by the trade deadline because it was vetoed by James Dolan.

The proposed trade would’ve brought Lowry to New York for Felton – a huge upgrade in itself, Metta World Peace – at this point, just a sideshow even the Big Apple couldn’t handle, and one of: Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. or a first-round draft pick in 2018.

The only one I’d be reluctant to part ways with is Hardaway but because Toronto GM Masai Ujiri had already gotten the better of Dolan (in the Carmelo trade with Denver), the front office was reluctant to let go of any of those pieces.

Now the Knicks have a lottery pick that we don’t get to use, World Peace is no longer with us (hopefully Felton isn’t far behind), uncertainty about the futures of Shumpert and Hardaway (although I do think both are bright) and a pick that we get to keep for 4 years from now. Toronto, on the other hand, won the Atlantic Division on the shoulders of Kyle Lowry, who had the best season of his career by far.

Lowry will become a free agent this offseason and will likely cash out on the season he had, meaning the Knicks certainly won’t have the cap space to afford him and the problem surrounding the point guard spot will carry over into next season.

Lowry may not have been the difference in whether or not the Knicks could take down Miami or Indiana, but making this trade would’ve put the franchise in a much better situation heading forward had they been able to get him on board for a future next to Carmelo Anthony.

As Knicks fans, let us hope these are the types of trades that Phil Jackson doesn’t let slip away in the future.