Knicks Roster – The world was shocked when the New York Knicks received the 4th seed in the playoffs. Tom Thibodeau shocked the NBA world enough to win coach of the year. The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. Years of bad choices in free agency and the draft lead to years of bad thinking.
Last year, the Knicks fielded a starting lineup that included Elfrid Payton, Reggie Bullock, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. The team adopted Thibodeau’s defensive concept and made the playoffs. The Knicks have $50 million in cap space, the most in the NBA, and are ready to ramp up.
As successful as the offseason has been for the past three years, we’re bringing back starters with two major additions that could be seen as massive upgrades. With the Knicks’ starting lineup intact, the team could be poised for a deep playoff run.
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Last season, the Knicks used a combination of Peyton and Immanuel Cookley. Walker would be an immediate upgrade for the Knicks in the scoring department. Despite his down year, Walker averaged 19.3 points per game, which ranked 12th in the league. Neither Peyton nor Cookley were anywhere near the top tier last year. Derrick Rose leads the Knicks point guard group with 14.7 per game, which ranks 27th.
Peyton ranks 39th among all guards. Players like Monte Morris and Jalen Brunson are high-profile backup point guards. The Knicks have a true starting point guard, a former All-Star when healthy. Just two years ago, Walker averaged 25.6 points for the Hornets. If Walker can put the last two seasons in Boston behind him and deliver his former streak in Charlotte, the Knicks are in good shape.
The Knicks continue to build on the Celtics’ fortunes. Fournier, who was acquired by the Celtics at last year’s trade deadline, saw his rating drop from 19.7 in Orlando to 13.0 in 13 games in Boston. With that said, Fournier’s three-point shooting jumped 8% overall while shooting 46% from deep.
The Knicks are building on their strengths from last season. The team was the third best team from the three-point field (39.2%). The team is tied with the Brooklyn Nets, meaning last year’s squad was just as good on the outside as Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Adding Fournier to the mix could help New York move closer to the top.
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Many prospects appear in the third season. In the past, Bam Adebayo emerged as an early star in his first year. De’Aaron Fox and John Collins had their best seasons. Last year we saw the departures of Dandre Ayton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Collin Sexton.
Barrett enters his third season after a terrible freshman campaign. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. He shot 44.1% from the field and 40.1% from the three-point line. If Barrett can continue to develop his game, it will be better for the team. Not to mention, this will be Barrett’s first time playing with two stars. Who knows how many games can go on now?
Randle was the MVP after his first All-Star appearance in the season, where he averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists. That includes 45.6% field goal shooting while shooting 41.1% from the field. With Fournier and Barrett on the team, he’s shooting over 40% from three point range.
The matchup between Thibs and Randle last year was unbelievably clear. Randle’s most defensive win shares were 2.6 with the Lakers. Randle finished with 4.8 defensive win shares last year, more than triple his first year in New York. Last year, Randle was the team’s MVP, but now he’s helping.
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For the same reason as Barrett, we could see a resurgence in Robinson in his fourth year in the league. Robinson shot 74% from the field during his rookie season. Then, despite an injury-plagued season, Robinson shot 65.3 percent from the field, averaging 8.3 points and 8.1 rebounds. When healthy, Robinson is the team’s primary defender.
Robinson should be the most interesting player for the Knicks next year. Robinson, like Randle, fits the bill. If Robinson can average a small double-double, the Knicks will be a dangerous team on both ends of the floor.
Derrick Rose, Alec Burke, Obie Toppin, Nerlens Noel, Emmanuel Cookley, Kevin Knox, Taj Gibson, Elfird Peyton, Quentin Grimes, Frank Ntilikina, Jericho Sims
Peyton was the team’s starting point guard last season. Now it is the fourth line. Even if it’s not a pit on Peyton, the Knicks are better with their names. At the end of the season, Derrick Rose was the best guard on our team. In the playoffs, he was the team’s best offensive player while Randle struggled. Now, Rose could be a contender for Sixth Man of the Year after seeing him buy his role off the bench.
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The Knicks also seem to be trying to build a jazz lineup with Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles. Alec Burke averaged 12.7 points and shot 41.5% from three-point range. The combination of Rose and Burke makes the Knicks’ second unit offensively strong. Also, let’s not forget Cookley, who was a second-team All-American selection.
Getting Nerlens Noel back was important. With Robinson out for the season, the Knicks’ defensive unit hasn’t missed a beat. Noel provides protection from the field, meaning a defense that this team can go with the first unit. Maybe it’s asking too much to develop Kevin Knox, but with Taj Gibson in uniform, this team has 10-man potential.
Are the Knicks a championship contender? It goes without saying that the Knicks are better than the Bucks, Nets and 76ers. But they didn’t win badly and the team made the playoffs as the 1st seed. After the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics improved, not to mention the Hawks, who will be making an appearance in the Conference Finals, the Knicks need to keep the momentum going.
The Knicks are a top 6 team and should be in the playoffs. Most importantly, basketball is fun again in New York. When was the last time fans got excited about the preseason? The Eastern Conference is not a smaller conference by any stretch of the imagination. The Knicks are competitive and should focus on winning a playoff series this year.
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If you want to gauge how the Knicks’ 2021-22 campaign will play out, the best measure might be Thibodeau’s decision not to avoid being fired, but the fact that the front office is forced to make a decision to retain the reigning Coach. Year.
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After posting their first winning record last season and making their first playoff appearance since 2012-13, the Knicks are back at home. Regardless of how their last three games play out, they will have a losing record and fall back into the lottery.
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