Anyone who tries to argue the New York Knicks didn’t make big upgrades this offseason don’t have much of a leg to stand out.
The main position that needed changes was point guard, where Elfrid Payton held down the starting position for much of the previous year.
By landing Kemba Walker and ditching Payton, the Knicks have set themselves up for a major improvement, barring an injury issues.
Another big signing is Evan Fournier, but a new report suggests that he may have not been the team’s first option. Instead, the New York Post says there might have been another swingman on the team’s radar.
What if the Knicks had picked up DeMar DeRozan instead of Evan Fournier?
Knicks Targeted DeRozan
According to the report, which cites two NBA sources, general manager Scott Perry was leaning towards snagging DeRozan in free agency before landing on Fournier.
The same report also says DeRozan had similar interest in coming the Knicks, but he signed a 3-year, $85 million deal with the Chicago Bulls, which is almost certainly more than he would have been able to command with the Knicks.
Fournier figures to slot right in as a starter in the Knicks lineup, but what if they had picked up DeRozan instead? On the surface, you can assume that he’d be at the same position as Fournier is in the lineup, but the two players have much different games.
Both of them can put up points in a hurry, but the Knicks likely value Fournier’s skill set over DeRozan.
Fournier or DeRozan?
The main thing to look at is their shooting abilities. Yes, DeRozan is an excellent scorer, and he is still one of the best from mid-range in the league, but the Knicks are going to be looking for more than that.
DeRozan has never been known for his 3-pt shooting ability, while that’s something Fournier has been good at for much of his career. With Fournier, the Knicks have a formidable threat from behind the arc at any position with the exception of center.
Ultimately, you’d be hard-pressed to find a group of fans who’d take DeRozan over Fournier, and it comes down to a variety of reasons. The main one is that the former Spurs and Raptors star can’t really space the floor, and that just doesn’t fit the type of offense the Knicks are trying to run.
It’s easy to imagine DeRozan thriving with the Bulls because they have a different system than the Knicks do. He can have the ball in his hands a lot more in Chicago, where Julius Randle figures to be the focal point of the Knicks offensive attack.
Obviously, any coach can make adjustments and figure out how to get their players in the best positions, but from the outside looking in, it just seems like Fournier is a much better fit with the team than DeRozan ever could have been.
When you factor in the price point for the two players, while Fournier might have gotten a bit more money than many would have liked, he still figures to provide more value than DeRozan would with his contract, at least with the Knicks.