WATCH: Three Veteran Point Guard Options for the Knicks
Whether the New York Knicks utilize their lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft on a point guard or not, team president Leon Rose will likely be looking at veteran point guard options in free agency to help bring some, even if brief, stability to the position. It's fair to assume that if one of the point guards projected to be selected in this year's lottery were the starter for the Knicks next season, the team would struggle a fair bit simply due to their lack of experience; handing a 19-year-old point guard the keys to an NBA offense is bound to lead to some issues (on both ends of the court), save for certain prospects such as Ja Morant.
The Knicks will likely not be looking to hand out any multi-year contracts this summer, as maintaining the cap flexibility the team has in order to be able to consistently pursue "big" free agents and swing trades for star players without their current contract situations getting in the way. That being said, what veteran point guards are on the market this summer that would want to sign a one-year deal to play under Thibodeau at Madison Square Garden? Here are three options from this fall's free agency class Leon Rose and his front office may consider.
First off is Jeff Teague, who averaged 10.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists this season. His average stat-line of 13.2/2.6/6.1 in Minnesota was brought down a bit once he was traded to Atlanta, as he played 7 less minutes per game and took less than half the amount of three-pointers he was attempting for the 'Wolves. A career 35.6% three-point shooter, Teague would at least bring what should be the bare minimum level of shooting for any acquisition the team looks to make this summer; neither RJ Barrett nor Mitchell Robinson can reliably shoot the ball, and if their development is being prioritized, the Knicks need to surround them with players that can. His generally weak defense is a problem, but he'd work as a backup; his defensive struggles under Thibodeau in Minnesota are enough evidence to not offer him a starting position.
D.J. Augustin has come off the bench in 43 of the Orlando Magic's 50 games so far, and contributed 10.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 24.8 minutes per game. Augustin played under Thibodeau in Chicago in the 2014 season, and enjoyed doing so. He even described Thibodeau as the "secret" behind the team's success, when explaining that he didn't understand why he had such a tough time playing against the Bulls until he actually became one of them. Augustin has made 34.5% of his 3.5 attempts from beyond the arc on average, but is a 37.9% shooter from three-point land on average throughout his career. The hope would be that, especially if the Knicks utilize their lottery pick on a wing player such as Anthony Edwards or Isaac Okoro, that Augustin could come to New York and simply facilitate Thibodeau's offense through the means of being a willing passer to players such as the 2020 lottery pick, Barrett, and Robinson — as well as being able to reliably hit three-point shots when open and needed. As with Teague, his defense isn't the best.
The third and best option is Goran Dragic. Whether the team would be able to pry Dragic away from Miami is questionable, but in an offseason where teams might be finding themselves strapped for cash, the Heat might not be able to pay to retain Dragic if they go out and sign someone like Danilo Gallinari in free agency. Dragic has averaged 16 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists on average while backing up Kendrick Nunn this season - but he would almost certainly have a starting role if he were to sign with New York. In the 28.3 minutes per game that he does play, he takes 5.7 three-point shots on average and has been able to convert on 37.3% of them. Dragic would me a major boost running the team's offense next year if they do draft a wing or trade the pick for an established player, or as a mentor to the point guard the team might potentially select in the lottery. Despite already being 34 years old, Dragic is making a clear positive impact on his team and he would be a great fit here on the Knicks.