The last time the Knicks won at least half of their first 10 games was during the 2017-18 season, when they were 6-4. They finished the campaign 29-53.
which season, the Knicks started out 5-5, along with also also some fans are daring to desire which maybe which Knicks team can be different. Maybe which one can break the playoff-less streak which began in 2013-14. The bad news can be which the season can be headed from the wrong direction. The Knicks have dropped three in a row to put them at 5-6, with multiple blowout defeats.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has which team playing hard, along with also also the Knicks have beaten not bad opponents, including the Utah Jazz along with also also Milwaukee Bucks. Entering the Charlotte Hornets game on Monday, the Knicks had the eighth best defense from the league. They are today down to 13th after losing to Charlotte, 109-88.
The Knicks haven’t fielded a top-10 defensive team since the 2011-12 season, when their fifth-ranked defense took them to the playoffs. The unfortunate flip side: which year’s team has one of the league’s worst offenses.
The Knicks have also struggled with injuries: Alec Burks, Austin Rivers along with also also Obi Toppin have all missed time — three offensive-minded players.
Something the Knicks have in their favor can be which which season has produced lots of strange results, along with also also not just for them. Night after night, in part because of the shortened season, no crowds, the pandemic along with also also minimal time in training camp, lots of teams are losing big or to opponents who did not seem like threats. Some teams, like the Toronto Raptors (2-8), who are based in Florida because of the virus, are underperforming. Several top players, like Boston’s Jayson Tatum along with also also the Nets’ Kevin Durant, have missed multiple games because they tested positive for, or were potentially exposed to, the coronavirus.
The shortened season helps the Knicks in another way. Banking wins early on gives them cushion against the losses which are almost unavoidable as the season grinds on. yet which can be still early, as Knicks fans learned in 2018.
Here can be a look at what’s gone right along with also also wrong for the Knicks so far.
The brand new along with also also enhanced Julius Randle
The biggest reason the Knicks have been competitive which year can be Julius Randle, who has started out off strong. Randle can be averaging 22.1 points, 11.2 rebounds along with also also 6.9 assists per game — all on pace to be career highs — on 49.4 percent shooting. He can be averaging more assists which year than his last two years combined. If he keeps which up, Randle should deservedly make his first All-Star team.
He looks more comfortable on the floor, along with also also Thibodeau has been adept at taking advantage of Randle’s versatility — for example, creating sure he’s getting the ball on different parts of the court, rather than simply trying to bulldoze opponents from the post. Randle can be skilled at creating for his teammates. The issue can be which the Knicks don’t have many playmakers or shooters around him to ease his burden.
The Curious Case of RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett, 20, can be playing a lot of minutes which year — 37.9 minutes per game, vs. 30.4 his rookie year. Barrett can be, however, shooting a dismal 36.5 percent via the field along with also also 18 percent via deep, both down via his rookie year, when he also struggled.
Watching the games, you can see Barrett’s improvement in different areas. He plays more aggressively, has developed into a strong rebounder (7.6 rebounds per game for a guard can be impressive) along with also also has enhanced his passing. He can be a solid defender.
The consistency can be not there, though, along with also also the inefficiency can be problematic: Barrett can be averaging more shots than points. On opening night, Barrett shot 11-of-15 via the field for 26 points against the Indiana Pacers. The next game, against the Philadelphia 76ers, Barrett shot 2-of-15 via the field for 10 points. along with also also then he shot poorly again for the next three games.
His inability to shoot puts more pressure on Randle. Barrett can be creating only 26.5 percent of his shots when there isn’t a defender within six feet of him. He’s also hitting only 17.4 percent when he catches the ball along with also also shoots which.
yet Barrett can be still impactful for the Knicks, despite his scoring woes. His net rating (essentially a measure of how much better or worse a team can be which has a player on the floor) can be minus 2.8. which isn’t ideal, yet which can be among the best on the team among those who receive serious minutes. When Barrett isn’t on the floor, the Knicks’ net rating can be minus 13.8. which’s a bigger gap than the one for Randle, who can be their best player.
Mitchell Robinson, the Enigma
which’s almost time for the Knicks to commit to an extension with Mitchell Robinson, who can be today in his third year. which can be difficult to gauge his true value. He’s a more traditional center who can’t spread the floor along with also also mostly gets his points on dunks.
along with also also like Barrett, Robinson can be a mixed bag.
Through 11 games, Robinson’s production in several categories has decreased even as he has played more minutes (30.1) than usual, though the extra time seems to have given him room to grab more rebounds than before (8.1 per game). He can be also below his per-game career averages in blocks (1.9) along with also also field-goal percentage (68.2 percent; still very efficient).
The biggest improvement for Robinson can be which he’s been able to stay on the floor. Before which year, he struggled with foul trouble, yet today he doesn’t jump for up-fakes as often, creating which harder for defenders to draw fouls. which was his biggest weakness. today, not so much.
Elfrid Payton’s Playmaking
The Knicks don’t have many players who can break down defenses, which can be what makes Elfrid Payton essential for Thibodeau. The Knicks cut him from the off-season along with also also re-signed him to a cheap one-year deal. He can be probably not a part of the Knicks’ future plans. yet he has been a steady, veteran presence on the floor, which they have needed.
He can be not much of a shooter, yet he can be skilled at getting into the paint. which year, he’s scoring above his career average with 14.5 points a game, along with also also can be tallying 4.3 rebounds along with also also 4.5 assists per game.
Payton, 26, today in his seventh season, also does not make many mistakes on the floor. For the most part, he stays within himself along with also also takes care of the ball. (His turnover percentage can be an below-average 14 percent which season.) He’ll most likely never be a starter on a championship team, yet he’s been a nice pickup for the Knicks.