The New York Knicks entered this offseason hoping to build off the franchise’s first playoff appearance in nearly a decade.
New York came into free agency strapped with more than $50 million in salary-cap space to improve the roster under head coach Tom Thibodeau. The front office added to the roster, but the available talent didn’t quite meet the expectations.
Although it isn’t the big-name Knicks fans wanted, he fits the bill as the star player the franchise needs to take a step forward.
He's A Bonafide Star Talent
The last two seasons with the Boston Celtics, Walker’s struggled to move past nagging leg injuries.
While Walker struggled with leg injuries in his two campaigns with the Boston Celtics, the four-time All-Star will enter a situation where he can step in as the clear-cut No.1 scoring option next to emerging star Julius Randle. When healthy, he’s proven to be one of the game’s top point guards thanks to his scoring prowess.
Walker is a proven scorer, averaging 19.9 points per game in his career while topping north of 20 points in five straight seasons before the 2020-21 campaign. New York needs a player of Walker's caliber to step into the top-scoring role, which he did for the first eight years of his career with the Charlotte Hornets.
Homecoming May Reignite His Career
When Walker joined the Celtics, the hope was that the change of scenery would allow him to become a pivotal piece to the franchise’s success.
Instead, injuries began to take their toll on him which prevented him from experiencing the success he hoped to find. Walker is working through the offseason after an injury-plagued campaign, playing in just 43 games, marking the fewest played in a single season in his career.
Beyond wanting to get his career back on track, Walker holds the unique opportunity to play in his hometown. It’s not often that a player receives the chance to shine where he grew up.
If Walker can stay healthy, he should light up Madison Square Garden like he did with the Connecticut Huskies.
All the cards are in place for Walker to re-establish himself as one of the game’s top backcourt talents.
Attract Other Star Talents
Of all the benefits from having Walker on board, this may easily be the biggest factor. Over the last several years, the Knicks have struggled to attract star players to join the franchise.
Albeit due to ownership, but New York has struck out in free agency seemingly every year with the biggest names. The team’s continued struggles and treatment of Carmelo Anthony also didn’t help the organization’s case to appeal to available star talent.
That said, Walker has an opportunity to not only reignite his career but also help make New York into a desired landing spot. If he excels while helping make the Knicks into a factor in the Eastern Conference, it could see other players want to flock to the franchise.
In other words, New York can only benefit from Walker’s addition as it can put the franchise truly back on the map.
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