The Knicks had some real problems with their scoring output and their defense last year. Then they fully handed the reigns to 26 year old Julius Randle this year, and they improved their defense tenfold. They definitely went and solved their horrible defensive problems that they had with grit and hard play. Last year they gave up 112 /game opposed to this year’s 105 /game.
I don’t think there’s any team in the NBA that really wants to play New York. You know what you’re getting… physical, tough defense. Nobody wants to be bumped, have a hand in their face on every single shot, and have to earn every single point in a seven-game series. And that’s exactly what every team is going to have to deal with, playing New York, in this case, Atlanta. Those kinds of games can make an offense frustrated and make tempers flare and take even a better team, completely out of their rhythm. When a team cruises to 114 pts /night in and night out, and now they are sitting at 48 pts at the half – that is extremely frustrating for anyone, let alone a team with big scoring stars.
They have an outstanding defense that can shut down anyone and push you out of your game-plan as they were the best defensive team versus opponents ppg in the NBA giving up just 105 per contest. They held their opponents below 105 points in around 54% of their games this year, along with a 44% opponent FG shooting defense. That is tenacious. Give me a team that can shut down another team’s offense and they will always have a puncher’s chance. They are a team that can score 95, and still win by 10.
The new look Knicks demand top quality defensive play from their guys every game, and expecting quality is a good thing. Having expectations for players makes them understand they are expected to perform and expected to win. Which in turn, shows confidence for your guys. Every single team and player needs to have trust and belief in them to succeed.
There is no denying when looking at the Knicks improvements this season, that Julius Randle has been a rock star this year. With his apg, his threeball shooting and ppg all at career highs. He has been putting up over 5 treys /game and hitting 41% from outside – which is +7% better than his previous career high of 34% back in 2018. He is getting up 18+ shots /game which shows that this is absolutely his team to lead. They have a strong roster with the improving RJ Barrett, 32 year old vet, Derrick Rose, and sharpshooter Reggie Bullock – who are all playing very good.
They have shown they can play and beat the teams that are heavy favorites, the Bucks, the Clippers, and even the Jazz. They have gotten confidence and they believe they can win. They have improved so much to last year’s team, their 3pt shooting has improved, their defense is much better and their ball control also has shown great improvements.
Their coaching is also definitely good enough to make the adjustments and make some noise. Tom Thibodeau is a marvelous coach with a great resume and a ton of respect. He can get guys to play his style and play hard all the time – the 63 year old Head Coach has won 56% of his games in his career. He is far from a slouch to lead this team. Getting to the playoffs 6 times in his 8 full years of Head Coaching.
I’m not saying they’re going to win it all, I’m not saying they’re even going to make the Conference Finals. But what they are, is a really tough out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them upset a big name, or drag out a hard 7 gamer series. They have a ton to be excited about and there’s a really good chance in New York, after many, many years of disappointment and failure – we could be looking at the resurgence of the New York Knickerbockers so get your NBA Playoff winning selections at 10StarPicks.