The New York Knicks have started off the season with a 5-7 record. Coming off a horrible loss to the Washington Wizards. Right now the Knicks are sitting at the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference, only 1 game back to be in Playoff Picture. Out of the 5 the Knicks have won, their only quality win was against the Bulls. Kristaps Porzingis is finally emerging as an All-Star, averaging 20.7 PPG, 49.7% 2P, 40% 3P, 6.8 REB and his last game he had his career high 35 points against the Wizards. Derrick Rose commenting on Kristaps latest performance “It’s kind of crazy, he’s going out here scoring 30, and he really doesn’t know the NBA yet. That’s scary”.
With Kristaps emerging, the Knicks seem to start getting things going. But the true test will be November 20th - November 28th... a 5 game stretch. Those 5 games in between those dates will be against the Hawks, Trailblazers, Hornets, Hornets, and Thunder, four out of those 5 games will be at Madison Square Garden. The 5 teams the Knicks are about to face are all playoff contender team and hungry to win it this year. Every playoff contender team has an identity, and the Knicks don't seem to have one yet.
New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks
1st Game - Hawks (9-2) Tied for 1st in Eastern Conference: The Hawks are legitimately the 2nd best team in the East right now. They have the best point differential in the East right now, at +9.6 and 2nd in the whole league. The Hawks are 7-1 in the Eastern conference, with their only loss going to the Wizards. Hawks have the 7th best offense in the league, averaging 107.82 PPG, and shooting 48.03 as a team. Atalanta's defense is the 6th best in the league, with opponents scoring only 98.18 PPG , and the opposing team only shoots 42.47%.
The addition of Dwight Howard gives the Hawks a strong defense in the middle and adds a strong rebounder. Dwight Howard is a walking double-double, and teams have problems adjusting to the new Hawks team.
New York Knicks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
2nd Game - Trail Blazers (7-6) in the 8th Spot Western Conference: The Trail Blazers is a streaky shooting team that has one of the best PG in our league right now. Damien Lillard will cause the Knicks defense hectic; he’s averaging 29.8 PPG (4th in the league). New York Knicks defense sitting at 20th in the league right now, if Knicks defense cannot control the Trail Blazers offense it will be a long night in Madison Square Garden.
Portland Trail Blazers has the 10th best offense in the NBA, 107.00 PPG shooting 44.4%. The Blazers offense so vicious because they have a 1-2 punch in the backcourt the 2nd sharpshooter on this team is Cj McCollum he’s averaging 21.7 PPG shooting 46.9% and 44.4% from the 3pt line. This game will test the Knicks defense.
New York Knicks vs. Charlotte Hornets (and @ Hornets)
3rd & 4th Game - Hornets (7-3) 3rd in the Eastern Conference: The Hornets are one of the best complete basketball teams this year. Nicolas Batum is the centerpiece for this team. Kemba Walker is the MVP of this team, he’s averaging 25.8 PPG shooting 49.1% and 47.8% 3PT with 5.5 AST to go along with those stats. Kemba Walker is improving each year and is showing the league why he’s one of the top PG, and he's dominating each opponent he’s facing.
Charlotte has the 16th best offense in the league, averaging 105.50 PPG and shooting 44% and 35.84% from the 3. The defensive side of the Hornets team is underrated and they are 8th in the league on defense. The Hornets do a lot of good things that don’t show on paper, but they also have a great quality win and that was beating the Cavs.
New York Knicks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
5th Game - Thunder (7-5) 5th in Western Conference: The Thunder are all about explosiveness and athleticism this year. They added Victor Oladipo, who compliments Russell Westbrooks' game. Their game is similar. This game the Knicks have to be aggressive and Knicks backcourt will have to step up. They will have a long night trying to contain Westbrook and Oladipo. With the way that NBA offenses are evolving, limiting teams to a low percentage from three-point range is crucial to success. Thunder holds the opposing teams to shoot 34.45% from the 3.
It’s early in the season, but this test will show you how tough the Knicks are, if they can ride with the big dogs in the league, and tell you their team identity. Derrick Rose told the media that they are Super Teams well it’s time to back it up and beat the good teams. Knicks is under league average allowing the opposing team score 106.09 Ppg and rank 20th on defense. On the other side of the ball, the Knicks offense ranks 20th scoring 101.36 Ppg and shooting 44.69 as a team. On both sides of the ball, the New York Knicks is under league averages. Through this 5 game stretch, Knicks fans will know who their New York Knicks team really is.