The New York Knicks aren’t that far off from becoming a playoff team. In fact, they might be one right now. New York is 23-28 and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, just 3.5 games behind the Detroit Pistons for the eighth seed.
But TNT analyst Charles Barkley says for it to be “a lock” the Knicks need to upgrade the point guard position before the Feb. 18 trade deadline by acquiring Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks. From Peter Botte of the New York Daily News:
“I think the Knicks, they’re gonna be there,” Barkley said on a conference call Thursday to promote the upcoming All-Star Game. “I think, listen, Carmelo has had a solid year. I think he’s really been trying to fit into the system they’re running. (Kristaps) Porzingis has shocked everybody. He’s shocked everybody. Right now, he’s right there, him and Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re the two leaders in the clubhouse as far as Rookie of the Year. It could go either way.”
“But the one thing that surprised me was their point guard. I thought the (Jerian) Grant kid would be playing a lot more, earlier. But let me tell you something, I hear there are rumors they can get Jeff Teague. If they can get Jeff Teague, the playoffs are a lock. I love Jeff Teague. If you put him with Porzingis and (Arron) Afflalo and Carmelo, they will make the playoffs. That’s the one weak spot they have to fix in the next year, the point guard.”
“They need a point guard; that’s the only thing they’re really missing to be a playoff team.”
There have been conflicting reports surrounding the Knicks’ interest in Teague, but it’s obvious they need help at point guard. Langston Galloway and Grant, playing for injured starter Jose Calderon, combined for one point on 0-of-5 shooting in Tuesday’s 97-89 loss to the Boston Celtics. Galloway played 34 minutes, while Grant played seven as Calderon missed his fourth straight game due to a groin injury.
Calderon is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday against the Pistons, but that doesn’t satisfy New York’s need for better point guard play. He’s averaging a mere 7.5 points and four assists. Teague’s scoring (14.8 ppg) is nearly double Calderon’s in almost the same amount of minutes.
Maybe Barkley has a point. It might be time to upgrade to ensure a playoff spot.