The New York Knicks were no match for the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday, losing 85-77 in the NBA Summer League Championship. While it was a disappointing end to an otherwise strong tournament for New York, the franchise gained significant insight into the potential of its young players.
Quentin Grimes stood out throughout the summer classic, finishing with 19 points in the championship and scoring over 20 points in nearly every contest he entered. Grimes arguably looked too good to be on the floor in those games as he was able to show off his scoring, passing and general playing abilities following a knee injury that cut his regular season short. .
NBA prospects Jericho Sims and Miles McBride have surprised many with their dominating play this summer. Sims was an athletic force against the competition and McBride was an offensive spark at point guard.
Feron Hunt, who spent the end of last season as a two-way player for the Knicks, showed great ability in the transition game, making him a possible and useful call-up option for the Westchester Knicks this season at come.
Jean Montero and Trevor Keels looked raw in the tournament, but also had moments of praise for their play, and will surely be candidates for the Westchester affiliate team this fall.
The Summer League was a success for the Knicks
Overall, the New York Brass should be extremely happy and optimistic with their young players’ play this summer. Grimes, Sims and McBride have earned plenty of looks for rotational minutes this season and New York has gotten a feel for which players will be useful developmental pieces, such as Keels and Hunt.
Midway through the Knicks’ Summer League, the team was the focus of Donovan Mitchell’s trade talks. Competing with the Miami Heat to voice the biggest sets of assets, if the plan was to use the Summer League to do that, consider it mission accomplished.
Grimes appears to be the main consideration for the Utah Jazz, and if they were planning to assess his Summer League-based post-injury play, he’s proven he’s more than willing to contribute.
McBride will struggle to find time behind new addition Jalen Brunson this year, and if Utah embarks on an overhaul and rebuild, he would get a much bigger opportunity there as a go-to option.
Knicks must trust the process or go all out for an immediate star
The most important thing New York has learned this summer is that it has plenty of options and a plethora of talent at its disposal for the future. It’s a harbinger of patience and consistency from the front office and they are finally in control of their own destiny after years of painful rebuilding.
The Knicks have the infrastructure to be a strong team next season as they stand with tremendous depth and talent at every position. If they trust the core they have built, they may be able to compete for the competition this year and become a real competitor in a few years.
The idea of accelerating that process is incredibly tempting, though, because landing a star like Mitchell would propel New York to the level they’ve always hoped to reach and make the team an instant regular-season threat.
The main question the franchise will have to answer is whether or not they believe Mitchell is tipping the scales. He proved he made the Jazz a great regular-season team, but that game never made it to the playoffs.
Staying patient and developing their own talent could lead the Knicks to success like the Golden State Warriors won, which also left them with the opportunity to acquire a megastar like Kevin Durant when he became available.
Only time will tell if Donovan Mitchell is the star New York covets, but regardless, this summer was a milestone in Knicks history.
Although they fell short of their end goal, they ultimately managed to maintain a roster of exciting young players and a ceiling of untapped potential.