Give the Knicks Credit?
By John Brecko
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report Shop
The New York Knicks have not made it to the NBA Finals a single time in this millennium. The last time they did make it to the NBA Finals was in 1999. They lost the championship that year to the San Antonio Spurs four games to one.
In the last 20 years, the New York Knicks have only made the playoffs six times and average a dismal 33 wins per season. The Knicks had a 21-45 record in 2019-2020 before last year’s season was cut short due to covid. In fact, this is the first time the New York Knicks have been over .500 since the 2012-2013 season, when they had a 54-38 record. They lost to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the playoffs that postseason.
However, they are currently on a three-game winning streak. Their last win was over the Indiana Pacers by a score of 109-90 in Little Caesar’s Arena. This was the Knicks’ third straight win.
Julius Randle led the team to their victory with his usual numbers of 25 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. Randle believes that this winning record is expected in the locker room and their level of play supports that.
The Knicks also made changes in the offseason, with Leon Rose coming to the organization as their new President of Basketball Operations and Tom Thibodeau coming in as the new head coach. So far, neither man has done what many in the organization have done in recent history, which is disappoint.
They are currently the number four seed in the Western Conference with an 18-18 record. You read that win-loss record correctly. The usually abysmal New York Knicks officially had a record BETTER than .500. Their record is no longer sub-.500 at the moment. Their record is currently exactly .500. New York Knick fans would throw a parade for that by itself it was not covid season (they are easily impressed these days).
Their record is above .500 against teams in the Eastern Conference (12-10) and just under .500 against teams in the Western Conference (6-7). To be fair, the competition coming from the Western Conference does seem better this year. The Utah Jazz are currently in first place with a 27-7 record. It seems like the Jazz are as hard to beat this year as last year’s Milwaukee Bucks, who are not playing as well, but are still the number three seed in the Easter Conference.
The two teams from Los Angeles are almost neck and neck at the two and three seeds with the Lakers at a 24-11 record and the Clippers currently at 24-12.
Also, if there is any team that NBA fans will sleep on this year, it is the Golden State Warriors, who are currently the number eight seed in the Western Conference. The Warriors have a 19-16 record. Klay Thompson has not been able to play due to injury. People forget that the Warriors were winning championships before acquiring Kevin Durant and will still be dangerous in the playoffs with Steph Curry by himself.
The New York Knicks are above many teams that have long histories with championships, including teams such as the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. The Celtics and the Heat faced each other in the Eastern Conference Finals last year in a series where the Heat prevailed, even if they did eventually fall to Lebron and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The New York Knicks are currently four and a half games out of first place. The current number one seed in the Eastern Conference is still the Philadelphia 76ers with a 22-12 record, with the Brooklyn Nets and the Bucks close behind in the two and three seeds with 22-13 and 21-13 records.
Julius Randale has been nominated for the 2021 All-Star Game that is scheduled to take place on March 7th this year. This is the first time Randle has been nominated for this game.
Since the NBA is still less than halfway through its 2020-2021 season (technically that’s what it is since the season started December 22nd), the Knicks still have yet to do anything in the playoffs, but they are playing better than most have expected.
Since they are currently .500, it is safe to ask, “When should we start giving the New York Knicks credit?”
Most Knicks fans already did when the team was slightly under .500. To be fair, the team was already better than what we saw last year (the Knicks were 4-18 at one point). Many waited for the Knicks to crumble and begin losing close to every game once again, which has not happened up to this point. Knicks fans would not let people forget that either.
The Knicks have an all-star on their team that the NBA community (fans, teams, and personnel) as a whole is taking notice of. Now, they have a winning record.
If you have not given the Knicks credit yet, that is understandable, but the Knicks are headed in the right direction at the moment and have even been continuing to get better as the season progresses.