After the Knicks’ return to the draft lottery, Charles Barkley doesn’t see much hope on Leon Rose’s roster.
“They’re not close. They’re not close at all,” said Barkley on Wednesday as he promoted an appearance in next month’s celebrity golf tournament, American Century Championship. “They only got about two to three guys who are NBA starters. The No. 1 thing they got to do is get talent. They got a bunch of J.A.G.s as I call them. Just A Guy.”
For reference, the Knicks’ starting lineup last season was Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. The bench included Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley.
“They’re not better than guys on Atlanta, Orlando,” Barkley said. “There’s only probably three guys on that team that are NBA starters. So the No. 1 thing they got to do is get some talent. They got a lack of talent right now. And it’s really unfortunate because we need the Knicks to be competitive. And right now, they’re not competitive.”
The Knicks elevated to the fourth seed in 2021 but bombed in free agency and fell to 11th in the East last season. Randle’s regression was among the biggest issues, leaving questions about whether the Knicks would be better off trading their leading scorer.
The Knicks own the 11th pick in this month’s draft and want to pursue Dallas guard Jalen Brunson in free agency. The major maneuver is a trade for Donovan Mitchell, who is reportedly dissatisfied in Utah and is a native of Westchester.
This week’s resignation of Utah coach Quin Snyder added to speculation of a Jazz overhaul. Barkley said the Knicks might improve even if they traded half the roster for Mitchell.
“Because you don’t have a lot in the cupboard right now,” he said.
Barkley then lost some credibility with his Knicks analysis by claiming their last good trade was acquiring Randle from the Lakers. The Knicks signed Randle as a free agent in 2019, one year after he left the Lakers for the Pelicans.
“[The Knicks] are not even close to being relevant right now,” Barkley said.