NBA, New York Knicks

Knicks Prediction: How Good Can the New York Knicks Be This Year?

If you ask any New York Knicks fan how their team will do this season you will probably get a mixed reaction. There will be the traditional feeling that New York – and the Knicks – are the best in the world even if they haven’t won an NBA championship in almost 50 years.

The Knicks have not won a championship since 1973 and have not even made the finals since the late 1990s. The ownership is blamed for many of the current ills but there are other reasons why New York has not looked attractive to fans that bet on NBA games for quite a while now.

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There is always an element of optimism even  through the many years of disappointment. The Knicks have a solid core group of players – Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett and Jalen Brunson — that care about winning, playing defense, with a head coach that’s proven to take teams to the next level. Here are our thoughts on the team and how the 2022-23 season could go for the New York Knicks.

Who is Knicks Star: Randle, Barrett or Brunson?

As has now become wearingly familiar for Knicks fans, the offseason was dominated by the star that didn’t end up in New York. This year it was Donovan Mitchell that ultimately turned down a chance to play for his home team, opting instead to join the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

It is difficult enough to win the championship with a very good team – and most do so with a bona fide star leading the roster. Though Randle made the NBA All-Star team in 2021, New York doesn’t have a legitimate star at the moment and will now look to Jalen Brunson as the main man. Brunson isn’t Steph Curry or Kevin Durant – but he’s a competitive player with a high IQ that can put up 20 points and 8 assists a night.

Tough in the East

No matter how good the Knicks play this year, they will have to contend with the Eastern Conference steadily improving. In fact, the Eastern Conference has spent years as the clearly weaker conference, but this season is different. Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Toronto are all in the Atlantic Division and it could be argued that any of them has a better chance of becoming an NBA Champion than the Knicks. That’s not to mention the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavs who have two of the best records in the league.

Add to that the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls and the East is a beast; making it really difficult for any of those teams to make the post season.

Trust in Thibodeau

The sheen was slightly dimmed with last season’s disappointing record but the arrival of Tom Thibodeau in 2020 definitely made a difference in New York. In his first season at the Garden, a Thibodeau-led Knicks posted a winning record for the first time in eight years and made the playoffs.

Thibodeau was named Coach of the Year in that first year at the Knicks and has rarely experienced a losing season in his career. That is why last season was such a surprise. If the players can play the way they did in that first year – and Brunson delivers – Thibodeau might get this team back on track again.

As we just pointed out, Thibodeau is a proven winner that gets the most out of the players he coaches. New York fans have had one winning season in the last nine years and there haven’t been too many since the turn of the century. Asking this Knicks team to reverse that trend is a big ask.

Only two teams in the West made it to the playoffs or the play-in game with a record below .500 last year and the East is a much more competitive conference. There is a chance that the Knicks are able to do it this season but there are some very important factors that need to go the team’s way.

Season Prediction

Solid leadership and building upon his breakout last season, offseason acquisition Brunson is essential for the Knicks success. So does their three point shooting. They’ll require consistent play from Randle, Barrett and Mitchell Robinson at the center. We’re confident that if Cam Reddish can find a role on the roster and contribute, the Knicks can even sneak up to the 6th spot, but that’s the highest we see them going.

We’re predicting a record in the 38-43 win range. 

Randle will need to regain the form from 2021 and Barrett has to continue improving. Younger players like Emmanuel Quickly, Quintin Grimes, and Obi Toppin should also be given some important court time. The more optimistic Knicks fans will look at the possibilities of the team and believe that there is a chance of making the playoffs which would require them to be on the upper end of our win/loss prediction. If they do, that will be the extent of the success this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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