New York Knicks fortify biggest weakness with pair of under-the-radar deadline deals

Toronto Raptors v Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors v Detroit Pistons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The New York Knicks pulled off a trade for OG Anunoby just as 2023 came to an end, and since then, they have been at the center of plenty of trade rumors over the past few weeks. Whether it be trading for a superstar, adding bench scoring, or standing pat, there’s been a ton of speculation about what New York would do next. Knicks fans have much to be excited about and have been eagerly waiting to see what Leon Rose and Co. would do next. 

Winners in 16 of their last 19 games, the Knicks have been the hottest team in the league since trading for OG, but New York's bench has been abysmal after the departure of Immanuel Quickley. In the 20 games since the blockbuster trade, New York ranks 29th in the NBA with 24.7 points per game off the bench compared to 34.5 bench points per game in the 31 games before the trade. 

Despite all the recent success, it was evident to everyone involved the Knicks needed to make another trade or two and bolster their roster, specifically their bench unit. As the trade deadline approached Thursday afternoon, the Knicks brass did not disappoint. 

The New York Knicks filled a significant need at the trade deadline, adding much-needed bench scoring and playmaking. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Knicks have acquired Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Evan Fournier, Quentin Grimes, Malachi Flynn, Ryan Arcidiacono, and two second-round picks. 

While Miles McBride has filled in admirably as the backup point guard in Quickley's stead, Burks has experience playing in Thibs’ system and is a much better playmaker. Thus, he will likely serve as the de facto backup point guard, even when sharing the court with Duece. Not only does Burks add a much-needed playmaking element to an otherwise stagnant bench unit, but he’s also a versatile scorer and an elite 3-point shooter. 

Although he’s only shooting 39.4 percent from the field this season, he’s converting his 3-point attempts at a 40.1 percent clip. Since the 2019-20 season, Burks has been shooting 40.3 from long-range on 4.9 attempts per game. He averaged 12.1 points per game across two seasons in his first stint with the Knicks and is currently averaging 12.6 points in 43 games this season.

The real prize of the deal is Bojan Bogdanovic. In Bogdanovic, the Knicks get a versatile shot-creator who can score in a multitude of ways with an aptitude for knocking down tough shots and an elite marksman from deep range. He is averaging 20.2 points per game while shooting 41.5% from 3-point range across 28 games this season. 

Bogdanovic is expected to slot into the starting lineup in the short term, alleviating some of the burdens offensively for All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson. Once Julius Randle and Anunoby return from their respective injuries, Bogey will join Burks in the second unit and give the Knicks more firepower off the bench.

Ultimately, this is a tremendous get for the Knicks, who are looking to push for a top spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. A lot hinges on the health of their star players, but the New York Knicks are once again a force to be reckoned with in the East and are in a prime position to make a deep postseason run.