After a seven-year playoff drought, the New York Knicks have now made it to the NBA playoffs in two of the past three seasons.

The relative success of this iteration of the Knicks is a welcome development as they have struggled for most of this millennium. New York barged into the second round of the postseason earlier this calendar year for just the fourth time since 2000 and it looks like a repeat performance in this new campaign is plausible.

The Knicks have flown under the radar over the first month and a half of the season, but for a team that is typically in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, this could actually be the best thing that could happen to them. A major reason for this peace is that the team is playing in-line with the preseason expectations placed upon them. New York is currently tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 12-7 win-loss record and they are three games behind the first place Boston Celtics.

The Knicks also qualified for the inaugural NBA in-season tournament as the East’s wild card and they are set to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the quarterfinals. New York has all the tools to pull off an upset and win this whole tournament and it will be exciting to see if they can pull through. A win would be quite meaningful for this tortured franchise and the momentum from a win could push them to greater heights this year.

Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle are leading the way for the Knicks once again and the former looks primed to make his NBA All-Star debut this coming February.


The 27-year-old guard has already had two games with at least 42 points this season and is averaging a career-best 24.9 points on 46.7% field goal shooting over the first 19 games of the season. He is also putting up 3.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and one steal per game as he continues to validate his place in the upper echelon of point guards in today’s NBA.

Meanwhile, Randle’s slow start has dampened his scoring average so far this season, though the two-time NBA All-Star forward has begun to rediscover his form in recent weeks.

However, if New York is to find another level and take a leap up the Eastern Conference hierarchy, they will need the rest of their roster to step up. It seems like Brunson and Randle are already playing at their full potential so any improvement by this team hinges on RJ Barrett and the rest of their supporting cast.

While the  per-game numbers of the 23-year-old Barrett, who is already in his fifth season in the league, are down across the board this season, he has made some encouraging improvements. Barrett’s three-point (38.9%) and free throw (83.6%) shooting percentages so far are both career-highs while his on-ball defense has been much better too.

He may never meet the lofty bar that was set when the Knicks drafted him third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, yet these kinds of marginal improvements will allow him to carve out a role as a high-end role player in the league. If he can continue to shoot and defend at this level, Barrett could become the piece that pushes New York up a notch in the East.

The future is bright for these Knicks and though their ceiling will always be capped if Randle remains one of their focal points, there are many reasons to be excited about what lies ahead for this team. In the meantime, the peace brought about by their stability this year should be savored as it is already a marked improvement from the norm of the past few decades.

The foundation of something great is in place for this New York franchise and it should only be a matter of time before something great eventually rises up from the ashes of their previous cycle of chaos.