Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

NBA

Time To Look Ahead With The New York Knicks

What are your thoughts on the New York Knicks’ season so far?

Tom Thibodeau never looks happy. That makes him the ideal face of the New York Knicks, as a season that began with some hope is now inevitably slipping away.  

Last week, there was some minor stirring of optimism for his team, but it was quickly extinguished. The reality now is that after Sunday’s loss to Brooklyn, the New York Knicks are five games behind the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference. Once again, their inability to finish effectively in the fourth quarter sealed yet another disappointing defeat which led to a downgrade in NBA power rankings.

The New York Knicks Are All But Officially Finished

One Last Hurrah? Nope 

If somehow the Knicks can make what now seems to be an unlikely run to the postseason, they aren’t going to last for long. They have been inconsistent and cannot seem to deliver the timely buckets or stops needed to earn important victories. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The Knicks briefly teased that they had regained some life with three consecutive wins on the road last week. They rose in the NBA Power Rankings on many significant platforms, scoring a decisive win over the Clippers and blowing out the Mavericks. The latter seemed to be a stunning but potential statement victory that signaled this team may have finally regained its stride and confidence. 

The last two losses have brought the Knicks and their fans back to reality. At Memphis on Friday, the Knicks led by 15 points with just over one minute left in the third quarter. They were outscored 37-18 the rest of the way, ultimately losing 118-114.  

The Grizzlies held down Julius Randle during their comeback, as he did not score in the fourth quarter until he made a pair of free throws with 1:42 remaining. Randle was a non-factor for much of the quarter, and a bad pass from him shortly after that turned into a steal and alley-oop dunk that pushed the Memphis lead to seven points. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

On Sunday at Brooklyn, the Knicks went on a 9-0 fourth-quarter run to take the lead on an R.J. Barrett layup with 2:52 remaining. But a Kevin Durant three-pointer with 56.3 seconds remaining was shortly followed by an Evan Fournier errant pass that was stolen, and two more Durant free throws ultimately put the game away for the Nets. 

Those two losses were the latest examples of how the Knicks have blown leads or have not been able to finish off potential wins. Last season, they were heavily a reflection of Randle in a memorable All-Star season. He performed above expectations, and so did the team on the way to earning a surprising number four seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

The New York Knicks Didn’t Make A Push To Improve

The New York Knicks have also been a strong reflection of Randle this season. They have been erratic and disappear for stretches. Randle can score in bunches and then will go cold or fade away. Last year, the Knicks’ issue in the playoffs was not having enough significant scoring help around him. They never addressed that concern effectively enough in the offseason or near the trade deadline, which continues to haunt them. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Acquiring Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker while making no other notable moves was a failure of the front office. It led to the team regressing instead of building on last season, their most encouraging season in a decade. The Knicks lack regular effectiveness on offense and have become worse on defense. 

Last season, the Knicks were third in defensive efficiency. This season, they have dropped ten spots to 13th. Meanwhile, they have not improved offensively, as they ranked 26th in the NBA last season and are 27th this season. Last season, the Knicks were tenth in point differential, and now they are 20th

The Knicks could have made a key move to leap forward but instead chose to slip backward. They had the most cap space in the league and decided not to make a serious run at DeMar DeRozan instead of settling for Fournier. The Knicks could have at least become a threat to the elite in the Eastern Conference with such an acquisition but instead are now back to being the also-rans they have often been in recent years. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

What Lies Ahead In the Offseason

This team does not look hopeless for the future and is not as unwatchable as some New York Knicks teams over the last few seasons. R.J. Barrett has certainly made some significant strides forward and can be nearly unstoppable on many of his drives to the hoop. Mitchell Robinson is emerging as a true force down low. 

While he has not been the major difference-maker that the Knicks truly needed, Fournier is a quality outside shooter who is scrappy in other areas of his game at times. There is also much promise for the future, as Obi Toppin has started developing into an all-around player. Quentin Grimes displayed much potential when healthy, and Jericho Sims has recently made the most of his additional playing time. Immanuel Quickley should become more consistently effective over time. 

This team has the makings of one with quality depth, but it lacks true star power or needs at least one more guy who can truly strike fear in defenses. That was the case in last year’s playoffs, but the Knicks chose to run it back and failed. They did not get better and could not sneak up on the league this time. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The chances of bringing in a big name this offseason do not look great, either. The Knicks won’t be able to swing big in free agency because of their cap situation but can be active in the trade market. Bringing in a respectable point guard will be a priority. This team often lacks continuity on offense. 

The Knicks will also have to decide if they are bringing Robinson back. Madison Square Garden is considered the main stage in the NBA, but for showcasing the league, not necessarily the home team. It’s not a destination the biggest stars seemingly want to call home, although they enjoy occasional visits to New York’s home arena. 

This season is already looking like it may be over. The goal for the next season may be to return to the playoffs instead of seeing the team in contention, which was a fantasy after the 2020/2021 campaign. The Knicks may no longer be a pure laughing stock, but climbing out of mediocrity now appears to be the next step for the franchise. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Written By

Stadium Rant Recommends

Sports Betting

Welcome back to another day of our NBA best prop bets brought to you by Stadium Rant. Let’s cash some tickets!

Sports Betting

Welcome back to another day of our NBA best prop bets brought to you by Stadium Rant. Let’s cash some tickets!

Sports Betting

Welcome back to another day of our NBA best prop bets brought to you by Stadium Rant. Let’s cash some tickets!

Sports Betting

Welcome back to another day of our NBA best prop bets brought to you by Stadium Rant. Let’s cash some tickets!

Advertisement