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Lonzo Ball Would Fix the Knicks' Point Guard Woes

Ryan Phillips
Chicago Bulls v New Orleans Pelicans
Chicago Bulls v New Orleans Pelicans / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
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The New York Knicks have long had issues at the point guard position. It's a tough spot running point at Madison Square Garden, but there's a soon-to-be free agent who could thrive there and he's used to the microscope he'd be under. Lonzo Ball would be the perfect fit.

While there is speculation that the Clippers would love to land Ball before the trade deadline, the Knicks are a far better fit long-term. There's a huge opening at the position and enough salary cap room to ink him to a decent-sized deal even if the Knicks can't swing a trade for him in the next week. Ball has improved a ton this year, but the New Orleans Pelicans have not. Stan Van Gundy's team is 17-24 and five games outside of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Things aren't working out there and he's expendable.

So far this season, Ball is putting up career-bests in points per game (14.2), 3-point percentage (38.5), free throw percentage (76.7), true shooting percentage (56.2), turnover rate (9.9) and PER (15.25). While it seems like he's been in the NBA forever, Lonzo is still only 23 years old and has a lot of growing to do.

The Knicks currently have Elfrid Payton, Derrick Rose and Frank Ntilikina on the roster. None of those guys is a long-term solution at the point. With New York increasingly solidifying its spot as a playoff team, help won't be coming via the draft. That's why a trade or a move in free agency will be the best way to solve the problem.

If he's not traded at the deadline, Ball will hit restricted free agency this summer. The Pelicans would be able to match any offer to him, but with Eric Bledsoe and Nickeil Alexander-Walker on the roster, money tied up in Brandon Ingram and Steven Adams' deals, plus an eventual max extension for Zion Williamson, will New Orleans really want to sign Ball to a big contract and hamstring themselves long-term?

The Knicks lead the NBA in projected cap space for the 2021 season. They could either trade for Ball and lock him up, or wait and ink him to an offer sheet the Pelicans won't be able to match.

Ball grew up in the spotlight. He's been groomed for an opportunity like leading the Knicks at Madison Square Garden and he's improving at the right time. New York also has a head coach who would love what Lonzo can bring, as Tom Thibodeau has built his reputation on playing tough defense, and Ball is underrated on that side of the floor.

The Knicks should fully shift their focus to Ball, and if they can't get him at the trade deadline, they need to go after him in free agency.

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