Final Knicks report card, from Obie Toppin’s A to Leon Rose’s F – The Mercury News

On the heels of an ugly season, this is all team president Leon Rose can muster up.

That’s all he could manage after falling out of the play-in from fourth place in the past: A pre-taped and edited interview with the network in-houseWell, nothing in particular, with Rose being the main message.

To be clear, interviewer Mike Breen did a good job with the allotted time, at least the airing time, which wasn’t much. Breen, a well-deserved Hall of Famer, was in a tough spot as the play-by-play voice of MSG interviewing a shy and reclusive executive, but he missed out on seven key questions: 1) What Will Thibodeau be the coach next season? 2) Anything about Kemba Walker and the position of the point guard, 3) Will the Knicks at least make field offers for Julius Randall, 4) What about reports of top executive William Wesley throwing Thibodeau under the bus, 5) Why trade for Cam Radish when the coach didn’t see a place for him in the rotation, 6) what to learn from the terrible 2021 free agency, and 7) if it doesn’t signify running this squad back next season, then trading Why be silent on the deadline?

These questions would never be answered by Rose as she declined again to hold a postseason press conference. in fact he never Actually Answered questions from outside media since taking over the job two years ago. There was an appearance at a Zoom session to announce the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, which was dominated by Thibodeau’s voice. Then in September there was a personal meeting that also included Thibodeau and GM Scott Perry. Again, Thibodeau took command of the room, mostly by default.

In Sunday’s interview, Rose was asked by Breen if he would speak in public more often and he brushed off the question.

He said, ‘I want to make the fans happy. “It’s very important to me, important to this organization, from the point of view of giving them something they can be proud of, they can root for, they can feel good about. I’m in it. I want to do whatever I can to contribute.”

Of course, this is James Dolan’s way of dealing with the media and fans: keep the message uncluttered, vague, and promotional. Silence and non-disclosure agreements are big paychecks. Rose, who is clearly not so intuitive or polished as a speaker, has played a better role than her predecessors, even though we hope that someone at MSG understands that silence is a sign of weakness during bad times. signal.

That being said, we do offer our final Knicks report card of the disappointing 2021-22 season. Keep in mind, we don’t rule out injuries or missed grading time. And like Leon Rose, we won’t take follow-up questions.

alec burks

statistics: 81 games, 21.6 minutes, 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 39% shooting, 40% on 30

next season salary: $10 million


Thrust in an unfamiliar role as the starting point guard for most of the season, Burke was not reliably a point guard. He just doesn’t have the instinct to play, and his three short assists per game were indicative. Its not his fault. Burks was signed on as a backup two-guard and is fine in that role, sometimes exceptional when he’s scoring in bunches at the end of close games.

final grade: C

Ivan Fournier

statistics: 80 games, 29.5 minutes, 14.1 points, 2.1 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 42% shooting, 39% at 39%

next season salary: $18 million


The Knicks paid more for a 3-point specialist but it’s not Fournier’s fault. He set the franchise record for 3-pointers in a season, eclipsing John Starks’ 1995 mark. He gave up on playmaking earlier in the season and almost exclusively roamed the perimeter, with 3-pointers accounting for 72% of his shot attempts after the All-Star break. Defense remains an issue, but again, it doesn’t detract with which Knicks signed. On one hand, Fournier won this season’s media award for being so open and detailed in his writings.

final grade:B

Emmanuel Quickly

statistics: 78 games, 23.1 minutes, 11.3 points, 3.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 39% shooting, 35% on 3

next season salary: $2.3 million


Late bounce turned into a respectable season but early woes led to poor efficiency numbers. Exciting ability coupled with the brilliance of orchestrating an offense—especially when sharing the floor with best bud Obi Toppin—but Quickly still falls into the weird category: If the shot is falling, that’s a huge bonus; If he’s misfiring, that’s not enough to justify quirkily heavy minutes.

final grade:c+

Julius Randall

statistics: 72 games, 35.3 minutes, 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 41% shooting, 31% at 31%

next season salary: $26.1 million


A season of utter lethargy that included meltdowns directed at fans, officials, opponents and a team video coordinator. Now the big question will be whether the Knicks can land Randall for anything worthwhile because Leon Rose totally screwed it up. In short: Rose wasn’t sold on Randall, so he drafted a replacement for Obie Toppin when he rose to power. Then Randall exceeded all expectations and Rose gave him an extension of four years. Then Randall burst forth and Toppin flourished, leaving the fanbase eager to ditch the player who had just signed a $106 million contract.

Final Grade: D-

obi toppin

statistics: 72 games, 17.1 mins, 9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 53% shooting, 31% 3s

next year’s salary: $5.3 million


It was nice to see Toppin bloom from a deer in the headlights as a rookie for the Knicks’ most exciting player in Year 2. We always knew he was an athletic phenom and potentially elite in transition, but he showed a capable 3-point shot in the end. of the weather It was a major turnaround in Toppin’s career as he struggled to hit the rim at corner 3. Contrary to Coach’s critics, I don’t believe Toppin was so inhibited this season as much as he developed exceptionally well. It’s not who Toppin was supposed to start the season with, but what he became. Plus, he deserved better competition for his NBA Slam Dunk title.

final grade: A

Michelle Robinson

statistics: 72 games, 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 76% shooting

next year’s salary: unrestricted free agent


Health was a major concern in the season, and Robinson passed that test playing 72 games. He was a force at aggressive glass and was ridiculously skilled, especially working in paint. At this point, it’s easy to project Robinson’s path: he’s a tall and athletic center, probably susceptible to injuries, who would end up on the rim and defend it defensively, but put off diversifying his offensive play. should go. He has neither handle nor shot (he has made only 49% of his foul shots) and much more. How much is it worth in free agency?

final grade:B

RJ Barrett

statistics: 70 games, 20 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 41% shooting, 3s on 34%

next year’s salary: $10.9 million


The disappointing start saw RJ Barrett transition to a confident end to the season, even though he was cut short by a knee sprain. Above all, he enjoys being face-to-face with the franchise, accepting the burden and responsibilities that come with the ball in his hands. Maybe it’s more confusion in a contract year (we’ve certainly seen that from other players), but Barrett positioned himself as the anti-Randall in many ways when dealing with the media and fans.

kemba walker

statistics: 37 games, 25.6 minutes, 11.6 points, 3.5 assists, shooting 40%, 3% at 37%

next year’s salary: $9.2 million


It quickly became clear that Walker’s outburst was not going to magically reappear on his return to New York, and Thibodeau quickly gave up. Long-range shooting was good enough, but everything else—defense, cordon and finish ability—left Walker more of a liability. Ultimately, Walker disappeared on the All-Star break and never returned. The Knicks, perhaps not coincidentally, were better after the break.

final grade: F

nerlens noel

Stats: 25 games, 22.5 minutes, 3.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks

next year’s salary: $9.2 million


Leaving questions about his commitment after signing a $27 million deal over the summer, he managed only 25 games without major injuries. The Knicks also need answers to those questions before they can decide whether to pay Robinson.

final grade: F

quick grade

Jericho Sims (B+); Quentin Grimes (b); Miles McBride (C+); Derrick Rose (D); Taj Gibson (B-); Cam Radish (D).

Tom Thibodeau


There were ugly moments, notably just before the All-Star break, when RJ Barrett sprained an ankle in waste time and Thibodeau forgot he couldn’t challenge two plays. There were problems enabling Julius Randall, who, without guidance or punishment, often seemed to act negatively. There were misguided concerns about his point-guard rotation, which was more a product of roster construction than Thibodeau’s assessment. But the Knicks also improved in the second half of the season, especially the younger players, which meant Thibodeau still held him by the ropes.

final grade: C-

Leon Rose


The disaster of 2021 free agency is hard to understand. Rose took every wrong step. He had the most cap space in the NBA and the shiny point guard failed to solve the problem. He offered Julius Randall a huge contract on a one-season basis. He chose to splurge on Evan Fournier instead of DeMar DeRozan. He paid Nerlens Noel instead of Michelle Robinson. He saw that the team had been boosted by the Hawks in the playoffs and felt that the roster needed only a few tinkerers rather than repairs. Rose’s highlight was the draft, where he picked Quentin Grimes and Jericho Sims late in both rounds.

final grade: F+


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