The Knicks struggled on a variety of fronts in the 2019-20 season, but maybe none more so than shooting the basketball. They ranked 27th in three-point shooting percentage and 29th in three-point attempt rate in an NBA that lives and dies on the deep ball.
Part of this was due to scheme and front office moves, like not playing Damyean Dotson more and moving Marcus Morris, but personnel was the key factor.
The Knicks had few pure shooters to begin with, and many hoped to be reliable from three didn't come through.
Here are five of the best shooting free agents the Knicks can pick up to improve their long-range ability. Note: This does not include restricted free agents as they are less attainable.
The Nets are very likely to re-sign their sharpshooting wing, and can outbid the rest of the competition since they hold onto his bird rights. If the Knicks can somehow manage to pry him away, it'll be a coup. Harris has shot over 40% from deep, even as high as 47.4%, over the last three seasons on around five attempts per game. He's developed not only into a catch-and-shoot marksman off flares and pin-downs, but can one-dribble into his shots, attack closeouts and play team defense. Signing Harris is probably the best the Knicks can get if they want to better spread the floor.
When Gallinari is healthy, as Knicks fans may remember from the pre-Melo days, he is in the upper echelon of shooters in the NBA at his position. Play him at the three or four and you're getting a 38% clip from deep, or over 40% these past two seasons. He can hit these spotting up, off the one dribble, out of the triple threat -- you name it. Outside of three-point shooting, Gallo has a full bag in his midrange game as well.
In VanVleet's four NBA seasons, his three-point percentage has yet to dip under 37.8%, this despite going from one attempt a game to three, then 4.6 and finally 6.9 this past year. The types of attempts make this all the more impressive, as he's consistently been one of Toronto's bail-out guys with the shot clock running down. He's also confident stepping into that Stephen Curry three off the high screen if the big man is too low for the effective contest. The fact that VanVleet is till just 26 means his shooting could see even more improvement.
These next names are pretty interchangeable for their varying skills and career shooting pedigrees, but are a degree under a Gallinari or VanVleet.
Moore isn't going to create threes out of nothing like those two, but he boasts a career 39% clip from deep and has shot over 42% in three of the last five seasons. That's damn impressive if the Knicks are fine with settling for more of a standstill shooter that needs someone else to create for him.
Morris can easily be higher on this list, especially with how well he shot for the Knicks last year. His game-winning three at home against Dallas was a standout moment that fans will happily take more of. However, that stint was the only one in which Morris shot over 40% from three, and he quickly dropped to 31% with the Clippers. His career average is 36.7%, by all means not a bad shooter, plus Morris brings plenty more to the table. New York just has to be wary about bringing him in to do what he did early last season.
Others: Kyle Korver and Carmelo Anthony
Korver is a better pure shooter than most on this list, and would be the clear bang-for-your-buck play if the Knicks were at the cusp of contention and had stars that could demand the attention of defenses to free up guys like him. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. So, to make the Korver signing work, New York would need to get consistent defense and creation from other sources and give him his own play set.
What are the chances New York tries to get Anthony to retire as a Knick and bring that 38% three ball he gave Portland last year in the meantime? Hard to say, but if 2019-20 wasn't a fluke, there are far worse options the Knicks could pursue to get some shooting on board.