The New York Knicks have not progressed to the point where making the NBA Playoffs is something short of "good enough.''
That first step still needs to come. So ... What's next?
There is the prospect of lifting Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavs or Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. (How would a Mitchell deal work? Look here.) There is the Lotto, as New York holds the 11th-best lottery odds.
But what else is needed?
Rose and Noel
ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in his ‘How the New York Knicks should approach the offseason’ on New York’s three biggest needs. To wit:
The acquisition of a starting point guard
Derrick Rose and Nerlens Noel playing healthy
Cam Reddish's development into a rotation player
We won't argue about the 1-spot. It has been a long and fruitless search there, with Brunson a tantalizing concept. (Details on what the Mavs think of a sign-and-trade are here.)
We won't argue about the Reddish point - and it's about good health as well.
We are not certain, however, that the Knicks' situation - positive and promising as it is - leaves New York simply needing health years from Derrick Rose and Nerlens Noel to take another step.
We have seen enough of Noel over the years to view him as a supplementary talent at best; there are more reasons to trade him than there are to place great faith in him.
Rose's case is slightly different.
While he is a guy coach Tom Thibodeau obviously has affection for, he is also 33. ... and his injury issues march on, as last year he played in less than one-third of the games.
Is he a progress helper? Or with youngsters Immanuel Quickley and and Deuce McBride on the roster, does Rose represent a progress stopper?
The Knicks don't need to "get younger.'' They need to "get better.'' But on the way to doing so ... they truly need more than these three things to really arrive there.