The NBA Playoffs are now underway and so far they have been excellent basketball games, except for the Bucks and Houston series.
Overall, games have mostly been competitive and given us drama like the Warriors vs Clippers, and individual rivalries like Russ vs Dame Lillard. Even though the Knicks are spectators this playoff run, there is a lot to learn from the teams in the postseason. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Coach Fizdale taking some of the younger guys on a trip to a playoff game at some point this postseason.
This year provided us 8 playoff teams that finished with records of .500 or above in both conferences. The bottom of the Eastern Conference took a leap forward, although not by enough to consider the conference as competitive as the West. With an influx of talent expected this offseason for the Knicks, this is great news. Jumping from a 17 win season to the postseason is clearly a huge jump, but with the cap space and picks the Knicks head into the summer with, it’s certainly doable. With the right additions and use of extra picks to acquire additional players, the Knicks could be back in the postseason as soon as next year.
One of the major trends that we’ve seen in this playoffs and in general in NBA playoff history is that talent always wins over the course of a series. The Knicks have an opportunity to add some of the game’s best talent in a player like Kevin Durant this offseason. This is the reason why you can’t talk down upon building a team through free agency. Drafting works when you build from the ground up, but being able to add ready-made talent in free agency as well really can build a complete team. The Knicks already have a solid foundation of young talent, now it’s simply a matter of adding the elite talent to carry the team forward.
Pat Ewing Repping Knicks At Draft Lottery
In other news surrounding the team, Patrick Ewing will be serving as the team’s representative for the NBA draft lottery. It’s a nice gesture by the franchise, which has been under fire in the past for overlooking Ewing for coaching positions and other roles with the franchise. Ewing was the Knicks last number 1 pick back in 1985 and hopefully, he brings good luck to the team that evening in the first year of new lottery odds. Tune in May 14th Knicks fans to see where the team will be picking.
Allonzo Trier Report
This week there was a report circulating that some veterans found Iso-Zo’s game ‘cancerous’ and didn’t enjoy playing with him. Pretty difficult to believe it came from any of the young guys on the roster or anyone that he finished the year with. Trier just had the best rookie season for any undrafted player in the history of the NBA but also did it efficiently. He averaged 10.9 points per game on a 56.4 TS% (basketballreference.com). That’s incredibly efficient for a rookie player. He shot 44.8% from the field, including a solid 39.4% from 3 point range. It’s hard to imagine these critiques coming from players other than Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr, who had visible court spats with Trier at different points early in the season.
Pretty ironic honestly, since those two players were some of the least efficient players on the Knicks roster and continually shot terrible shots at the detriment of ball movement. Trier didn’t get an NBA contract because he’s not a good NBA player. He’s going to be firmly in the Knicks plans next season as a productive bench scorer for the team, a role that he excelled in this season.
Free Agency Starts July 1st
The Knicks most important summer in franchise history will begin with the draft lottery next month and continue with free agency in July. Teams can begin negotiating with players starting July 1st and players can officially sign beginning on the 6th. The Knicks go into the summer with over $70 million in cap space, enough for 2 max spots and some left over for role players that the team is expected to fill the roster out with. Hopefully, the recruiting team including Coach Fizdale can bring in the big fish NYC desires.
Enjoy the playoffs and let’s hope this is the last season where the Knicks aren’t participants for a long time. This summer will go a long way to ending the championship drought this franchise has endured.