Deandre Ayton has played the role of a thankless big man and given finite room to flourish. The bill has seemed to come due on the good will he's shown during his subjugation into such a blunt instrument role.
This is the time when everything is happily, vaguely defined.
All is not lost without Lonzo Ball, but it will take a delicate, intricate balancing act from Billy Donovan to make this curious collection of parts hum in a differently successful way.
In Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and De'Anthony Melton, the dashed dreams of the 2018 Rockets have found new foundation.
Time is on the side of these Knicks. There are many directions that RJ Barrett can take from here that would work for the team and their next steps as a franchise, and he's still just scratching the surface of those.