For the first time in nine years, The New York Knicks are once again relevant in the world of basketball.
After almost a decade of being one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Knicks are competitive and solidly in the playoff hunt. New York is currently the fourth best team in the East. Their 18-17 record is behind only Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Milwaukee.
A mixture of veterans, rising stars and hungry ballers are giving the Knicks an edge that has surprised even their fan base this season.
The Knicks are currently on a three-game winning streak and have won seven out of their last 10 games. Their most recent win came after beating Detroit, 109-90, with All-Star Julius Randle producing 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
New York’s success is not just a fluke as they’ve been one of the better teams in the league consistently this season. They’ve done this despite being one of the worst offensive teams in the league with 104.9 points per game, which is 29th in the league, only dishing out 21.1 assists pe game which is 29th in the league and only shooting 45.3% in the field which is 22nd in the league.
They make up for it with their rebounding as they’re third in the league with 46.9 rebounds per game and 11th in the league in three-point shooting with a 37.1% clip. They’re also the second-best defensive team in the league behind only the defending champions Lakers with 107.4 defensive rating – which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering they’re being coached by Tom Thibodeau.
Randle has been having a run to remember as the first-time All-Star has been averaging 23.4 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 5.5 assists on 48.0% shooting from the field. Sophomore RJ Barrett is showing more consistent flashes of brilliance as well with averages of 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
Immanuel Quickley is proving that New York got a steal by acquiring him as he’s been putting up 12.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists while Mitchell Robinson, despite dealing with injuries, is averaging 8.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks.
The last time the Knicks had this kind of start to their season was back in the 2012-13 season. Their core comprised of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler. That group led New York to a 23-12 record in their first 35 games.
New York finished the season with a 54-28 record, which was second-best in the East behind eventual champions Miami (66-16). That Knicks squad was a dangerous offensive team averaging 100 points per game, which was 11th in the league but was a horrible defensive team with their 106.3 defensive rating 18th in the league. They defeated Boston in the first round of the playoffs (4-2) before losing to Indiana in the second-round (2-4).
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