The New York Knicks have won six straight games for the first time in I can’t even remember how many years.
— Manny Rodríguez (@ERodriguez_TV) April 19, 2021
Since the last post, the Knicks defeated Zion Williamson and the Pelicans twice and some Latvian guy and the Dallas Mavericks. They are in sixth place in the East as they are in a six-game stretch at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks have a winning record. They have two very key games coming up against the LaMelo Ball-less Hornets and the surging Hawks.
A team that Vegas thought would finish with 22.5 wins now has 31 wins. A team that ESPN felt had a 2% chance to make the playoffs are virtually in the play-in tournament. The New York Knicks are on the right track.
The team has played well, led by shoe-in Most Improved Player and All-NBA player Julius Randle. Randle was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. In that span, Randle averaged 35.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 6.5 APG and 2.0 SPG. National journalists, who have disrespected the Knicks a lot this season, are now taking notice. Their apology needs to be louder than their disrespect.
RJ Barrett continues to improve every single day, especially with his jump shots. Maybe one day, we’ll see Barrett get better at the free throw line, once NBA Officials become competent, but who knows when that will be. Right when Reggie Bullock frustrates you, he makes a clutch shot that either cuts a deficit to two or three or maybe even tie the game like he did in the second New Orleans game. Derrick Rose continues to show he is the superior point guard and shows he can still surely lead a team because he knows how to play the position and can actually make a bucket when needed (like he did in the second New Orleans game).
Defensively, this team continues to play the 90’s Knicks style of hoops. Thank you, Tom Thibodeau. Julius Randle is showing every day that he can hold his own playing on-ball defense. Cut the tape, it’ll show that he is shuffling his “puppies” and is staying in front of his matchup. Nerlens Noel has been GREAT at protecting the rim. Twice in as many games did Noel meet an opponent at the rim to stuff a block, once against Dorian Finney-Smith and once against Brandon Ingram. He has been so damn big for the Knicks in the absence of Mitchell Robinson. Taj Gibson is grabbing rebounds (even though the offensive rebounds for the Pelicans in the second New Orleans game were too many for my liking).
Let’s be honest. Julius Randle should get a few third place votes for Most Valuable Player, at least. If you take Randle out of the Knicks, the Knicks are not in the position they are in. Of course he won’t win because, you know, Embiid and Jokic, but think about it. Where would the Knickerbockers be without Julius Randle?
And another thing that should be said: you do not want to play the New York Knicks in the playoffs, especially if you are the Nets, Sixers or Bucks.
The Knicks don’t have the same talent as those teams do. Maybe the Knicks don’t win a seven game series against any of those teams, but they will make their life hell for seven games. The Knicks will undoubtedly wear those teams down in a seven-game stretch. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Knicks take any of those teams to seven games and have every game be a difference of five points or less. They will wear down whatever top three team they could potentially face. That could prove to be huge especially with each of those teams’ stars dealing with injuries.
(Durant has missed 33 games, Harden has missed 15 games, Embiid has missed 18 games, Antetokounmpo has missed nine games).
I’ve told my inner circle of friends since the start of January, the Knicks are a top four team in the East. They are still in contention for that four seed, it is still well within reach. If the Knicks get one of those top four seeds, I truly think the Knicks will be able to win a playoff series.
More takes: RJ Barrett is better than Ja Morant, who is shooting Elfrid Payton numbers from behind the arc and Julius Randle is at a higher level than Porzingis, who is now second fiddle in Dallas because he became impatient and felt a sense of entitlement after three injury-plagued years.
LAST PEOPLE ABOARD THE KNICKS BANDWAGON. THE BANDWAGON IS CLOSING! THE KNICKS ARE FINALLY HEADED IN THE CORRECT DIRECTION!
Oh, and Zion is definitely going to become a Knick. He no doubt wants to come to New York and run this city with his college roommate RJ Barrett. Look at how giddy this guy is when asked about The Mecca (remember, this is only the second time he’s EVER played at MSG, his team just blew a six point lead in the final 1:48 of regulation and got blown out 19-9 in overtime).
"I'm glad you asked that, actually. New York is the mecca of basketball. I love playing here." – Zion Williamson ?
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) April 18, 2021