The New York Knicks have been one of the early surprises in the NBA season thus far. The Knicks have a winning record after 35 games for only the third time in twenty years. There is one big question that every Knicks fan is thinking though – can they keep this up?
Early Success for the Knicks
When it comes to the word success, everyone has their own meaning. Some people may laugh at the fact New York fans are celebrating a 19-18 start to the season. But for Knicks fans, this is amazing. New York is no longer terrible and that in itself feels like a massive win.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has been very persistent in trying to instill values in the Knicks’ young roster. Those values include defense and discipline. The team was filled with mediocre to average defenders and really young talent. Adrian Wojnarowski went as far as to say that New York had a “gutted, rudderless roster” before the season started. It seems like Coach Thibs has turned things around overnight.
The Knicks have a fanbase who have come to be familiar with incompetence and dysfunction. This season so far, they are rooting for a team that is competing for a playoff spot. They are currently 5th in the Eastern Conference and are in a good spot for the first half of the season.
Representing at All-Star Weekend
A huge part of the team’s early success is the play of, now all-star, Julius Randle. Randle has no doubt been their best player this season and according to the coaches, one of the top 24 players in the entire NBA. It goes without question that he has earned the respect of players and coaches around the league.
Last season was atrocious for Randle and the team. It seemed like every Knicks fan out there wanted to see him gone because of the poor performance from last year. This year however seems to be a complete turn around. There is credit given to the coaching staff which is well deserved, but there is also a lot of credit that has to go to Julius Randle. He stepped up to the challenge and embraced it. That kind of mentality has been contagious to the rest of the team and it shows.
New York Knicks rookie Obi Toppin was also at all-star weekend on behalf of the team. He participated in the Slam Dunk Competition and finished second place. Though many feel like he was deserving of first. Regardless, it is nice to see the hard work from these Knicks pay off and get the recognition they deserve.
Making the Playoffs
Every organization in sports has one goal, and that is to win. Something that the Knicks haven’t done in decades. So now that things seem to be going in the right direction so far, what is next? The Knicks are in the perfect spot to fight for a playoff opportunity. That is the next step for the young Knicks this season. With already having the first half of the season over, the real challenge comes into play. The second half of the season is a long grind. Especially for teams like the Knicks fighting for playoff hopes.
Making the playoffs will offer the Knicks something they haven’t had in seems like forever – hope. The Knicks have been ridiculed for a long time about not being able to sign any free agents. No one wanted to go play for them because of how dysfunctional everything was. With this new management and staff with this roster, they have a chance to show everyone that the Knicks are back.
If they make the playoffs, players will see that the Knicks are for real under Coach Tom Thibodeau and President Leon Rose.
Things seem to finally be trending upwards for the New York Knicks. You can’t help but to feel good for the fans who have been suffering for so long. Every one of their fans in the country is behind this team and this staff. There is hope for the future in New York and it is great for basketball.