3 Backup power forward options Knicks can explore after Obi Toppin trade

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New York Knicks, Josh Hart

Josh Hart, New York Knicks. (Photo by Rich Storry/USA TODAY Sports)

Option 1: Knicks keep their rotation as is and play small

After signing 26-year-old guard Donte DiVincenzo to a four-year $50 million deal on the same day as the Obi Toppin exchange, New York essentially replaced a forward with a guard, making its group of reserves even smaller than before.

When Randle was dealing with his ankle problems late last season, Tom Thibodeau would often throw out rotations that included both Josh Hart and RJ Barrett playing at power forward. While their size doesn’t really match up against a lot of teams in the league, something these players don’t lack is rebounding and paint presence.

As a Knick, Hart has averaged 7.0 rebounds per game, 1.9 of which have been on the offensive glass. If you ask Hart himself about his rebounding prowess, he’ll even tell you his board ability “breaks teams.”

In Barrett’s case, he has established himself (especially with his struggles from behind the arc) as someone who gets their money’s worth from inside the paint and takes the ball to the basket with authority.

If New York were to face a team like Cleveland again, there would be a valid reason for worry considering what is again, a disadvantage in size that would play a role on both ends of the floor. While you could talk about speed potentially neutralizing the size problem, it doesn’t do much of anything as NYK was 25th in the league in pace last season.

With the addition of DiVincenzo, New York not only becomes a better three-point shooting team, but a better ball-moving team as well. If the Knicks do in fact decide to go this route, they will be relying on quick exchanges and improved shooting to provide offense when their reserves are on the floor. Since Randle would obviously be on the bench during this rotation, it should improve the pace of play and add more fluidity to the offense as a whole.

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