The Knicks have been the laughing stock of the league for a long time now. Besides the early 2010s and the mid-1990s the Knicks, in the last 20 years, have been nothing short of disappointing and mediocre.
This mediocrity may look to be over soon as the team made a ton of moves this past offseason. These moves have in turn led to the question: Can the New York Knicks make the Playoffs? Here are three reasons as to why I believe they will.
Though the Knicks didn’t have the offseason that their fans expected them to, they were still able to sign/draft a plethora of good players. Their biggest signing this offseason was Julius Randle, a power forward who is coming off a season where he averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. Julius adds much-needed scoring to the Knicks, an area where they were third-worst in last year.
The Knicks were also able to add 3 point shooters in Marcus Morris, Wayne Ellington, and Reggie Bullock. This added shooting will also improve another area in which they struggled with as last year they had the 3rd worst three-point percentage in the NBA. This redesigned roster also includes players such as Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, and Elfrid Payton.
Though the Knicks were able to sign much-needed depth pieces, the key to their success for this upcoming season revolves around improvement from the young guys. Kevin Knox last year had a pretty bad season, statistically speaking. In this past Summer League, Kevin showed a lot of improvements in his game as he averaged 16.8 points and 5 rebounds per game. Also in Summer League, Kevin showed off improvements to his shooting, defense, and most importantly, his decision making which was an area of concern for him this past season.
Dennis Smith Jr. is another player to look for regarding the young Knicks players. Dennis was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 9th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and was traded to the New York Knicks this past season. Throughout his career, DSJ has struggled with shooting and is someone who is quite inconsistent. I believe the Knicks have him on a short leash and for him to stick around on this team, he must show improvement. For the Knicks to take a big jump, Dennis must improve in all facets of his game and show to the world that he can be a great basketball player.
The last player I want to discuss is Mitchell Robinson. He was a 2nd round pick for the Knicks in this past draft and has quickly become a fan favorite. Early in the season, Mitchell struggled as he had a fouling problem. But, as the season progressed, the excessive amount of fouls that Mitchell would commit had diminished and he blossomed into a great defensive center. Though he has taken massive strides, there is still a lot for Robinson to work on. For one, he must stay consistent throughout the season and look to add an offensive arsenal to his game as it would help the Knicks out tremendously.
Besides the players mentioned above, the Knicks also have R.J. Barrett, Allonzo Trier, Ignas Brazdeikis, and Damyean Dotson to work with and it’ll be interesting to see how their starting lineup will look like for this upcoming season.
Eastern Conference Competition
The biggest reason as to why I believe the Knicks can make the playoffs is the fact that they have the luxury of playing in the Eastern Conference. It is no secret that the Eastern Conference is the lesser conference of the two and with the major moves that occurred this past offseason, the Conference has only gotten worse.
Looking at the teams that will for sure be better than the Knicks this next season, there are only a handful in the Bucks, Sixers, Celtics, Pacers, Nets, and the Raptors. After those 6 teams, it is a tossup in the East.
For playoff teams last year such as the Magic and the Pistons, they made the playoffs after their respective best players had career years. For the Magic, Nikola Vucevic could regress with the additions of multiple players on that team and the fact that he had a career year in a contract year is somewhat concerning.
For the Pistons, they look like a team that will soon implode. With Blake Griffin’s age and injury history and with Andre Drummond set to become a free agent at the end of this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team blow it up at the midseason mark.
To add to this, other teams such as the Bulls, Heat, and Hawks are still iffy teams and aren’t a shoe-in to make the playoffs.
After reading this article, you can see as to why the idea of the Knicks making the playoffs isn’t crazy. I do still believe that a lot of things have to go right for the Knicks to contend for a playoff spot, but the possibility is certainly in question.