The disrespect spewed towards the New York Knicks and their fan base has been heavy since the 2012-2013 season. That was the last time they qualified for the playoffs instead of watching it on (what I assume are) 100 inch flat screens.
The current version of the Knicks are not only headed to the playoffs, but they have a legit chance at winning their potential first round matchup. This team plays with a grit and toughness worthy of New York and it’s all starts on the defensive side.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau is known for his defensive prowess and it’s showing on the court. New York is allowing a league low 104.9 points per game. Opponents are shooting only .441% from the field and .340% from beyond the three point line, which also ranks the Knicks first in the NBA.
The offense overall is not lights out but there are a few bright spots. The team shoots 39% from downtown, which is a top five mark in the league. They have seven players that average double digit in points, led by all-star Julius Randle and second year player RJ Barrett.
Randle has emerged as the team’s go to guy, averaging 24.0 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He’s added a long range game to his repertoire, shooting a team high .415 from beyond the arc.
Barrett is making the natural progression of a shooting guard, raising his shooting percentage both from the field and beyond the arc in his sophomore campaign. The Canadian lefty is averaging 17.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
The combination of Derrick Rose and rookie Immanuel Quickley has also been beneficial. The two combine for 26.8 points and 6.4 assists per game. Rose will provide much needed experience in the playoffs and Quickley should garner some consideration for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.
The Knicks have a golden opportunity to build on a great regular season and make legitimate noise in the NBA playoffs. In any event, they have silenced those disrespectful sentiments and maybe opened a few eyes in the process.