The Knicks are six games into their 2023-2024 campaign, and they currently sit two games below .500 with a 2-4 record. New York has been in some close contests so far but has failed to close out games in certain situations, leading to their less than ideal start. Let’s take a look at where things stand for the Knicks right now; What looks good, what has to improve, and what’s coming up next.

The Story So Far

Opening Night

The season started at Madison Square Garden about a week and a half ago as the Knicks faced the Celtics on Wednesday, October 25th. It was a tight game throughout and New York took a 99-93 lead with under four minutes to go, looking to close it out. However Boston was able to stay in the game and bring it to 101-101 in the final couple minutes of the game, and with 1:29 to go former Knick Kristaps Porzingis hit a tiebreaking threepointer. The Knicks ultimately fell 108-104, dropping the season opener and starting the year 0-1. Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barret led the Knicks in scoring with 24 each, followed by Brunson and Randle who had 15 and 14 points respectively. It was a valiant effort from the Knicks against a top team in the East, but it ultimately fell short.

First Road Trip

Two days later the Knicks went on the road to Atlanta and were able to secure their first win of the season, taking down the Hawks in a high scoring affair by a final score of 126-120. It was a huge night for Jalen Brunson who sunk a career high eight 3 pointers, shooting 11-21 overall from the field and scoring 31 points, not to mention 5 assists as well. Barret also had himself a big night with 26 points and 6 assists, and DiVincenzo had 16 off the bench. It was a close game down the stretch but the Knicks pulled it out, moving to 1-1 on the season.

Next the Knicks traveled to New Orleans for a matchup with the Pelicans, which did not go their way. New York fell 96-87 in an ugly game at the Smoothie King Center. Barret led the way with 18 points followed by Brunson with 14, but overall the Knicks could not get much going as they failed to score 10 points for the first time in the season.

The Knicks then headed to Cleveland for a  Halloween night matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Garden, a rematch of last year’s first round playoff series which the Knicks claimed in 5 games. The Knicks secured themselves a confidence boosting away win in this one, beating the Cavs 109-101 and evening their record back up at 2-2. Brunson and Randle scored 19 points apiece and Barret continued his solid start to the year with 16 points. Quickley and Hartenstein also had solid games off the bench with 18 and 13 points respectively.

Back Home

After this both teams headed to New York as the Knicks returned from their 3 game road trip ready for a rematch. However, this night was a much different story as Donovan Mitchell led the way for the Cavs scoring 30 as the Knicks fell at home by a final score of 95-89. Brunson scored 24, while Quickley and DiVincenzo scored 18 and 16 off the bench. New York fell to 2-4 heading into the in season tournament.

In-Season Tournament

The Knicks most recent defeat was a crushing one on Friday night, as New York fell to Milwaukee 110-105 in the first NBA In-Season Tournament game. The Knicks let a 103-101 lead with 1:10 remaining slip away as Damian Lillard sunk a dagger three giving the Bucks the lead, and the Knicks failed to retake the lead and dropped their first game of the group stage, and fell to 2-4 on the season.

Randle’s Shooting Woes

The Knicks former All-Star forward Julius Randle is off to a cold star this year, and is under a large amount of scrutiny for his struggles. Against Boston in the season opener Randle shot 5/22, followed by 4/10 against Atalanta and 4/15 in New Orleans. Against Cleveland Randle shot 5/14 and then the next night only 3/15 with 6 points. In the Knicks most recent matchup the forward shot 5-20 with 16 points. When asked about his early season struggles Ranlde said “I’m just not in rythm. Not in rhythm, everything just seems a little bit off, you just start pressing a little but, but like I said, I’ve just gotta stay with it. Keep working.” According to  Fred Katz of The Athletic, Randle also mentioned that he is “seeing a lot of bodies” when driving down low. Randle has also been criticized for lazy defense and playing selfish basketball throughout his first six games this year, and many fans have called for him to be traded. Needless to say, Randle is not very popular in New York right now, but hopefully, a turnaround can come soon.

Who’s Leading the Way So Far?

While some of the Knicks have struggled to start the season a few have flourished to begin this new year. Jalen Brunson is averaging 25.8 points so far, along with 4.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds. RJ Barret has missed the Knicks last two games with a sore knee, but was performing well before averaging 21.0 points so far. Immanuel Quickley has been a spark of energy off the bench so far this year as he is averaging 15.8 points per game as well as with 3.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds – a great start for the Knicks fourth year guard. The rest of the roster has been solid so far, with Robinson leading the way on boards so far averaging 12.0 and Randle leading on assists averaging 5.0

Looking Forward

The Knicks now return home to New York for a three game homestand where they’ll try to get into a rhythm get back on track. On Monday they’ll take on the Clippers who are currently 3-2. The main storyline of this game will be James Harden – who previously was employed by the Knicks crosstown rivals in Brooklyn – making his debut with the Clippers after being traded by Philidelphia last week. Then the Knicks will welcome the number one draft pick Victor Wembanyama to the Garden on Wednesday, as the Spurs visit for a 7:30 matchup. Three days off will follow that before the Knicks have a matinee matchup with Charlotte on Sunday at 12:00 before heading back on the road.

It hasn’t been an ideal start for the Knicks who have high hopes going into this season, but they’ve put up valiant efforts against two of the top teams in the East and look to keep improving. It’s a hard week ahead as they’ll face some tough competition, and the Knicks will have to step up from how they’ve been playing so far. Julius Randle especially will have to dramtically improve to help the Knicks start to win. This week will be an early season test for the Knicks in what should be an electrified Madison Square Garden all week – let’s see how they do.

 

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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