This season, the Knicks will look to build off last year’s success after making the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013 behind stars Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Jalen Brunson. They were eliminated by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the semi-finals after beating the Cavaliers in the first round in just five games after posting a 47-35 record during the regular season, placing them fifth in the conference.
Looking to improve their roster, the team traded young star Obi Toppin to the Indiana Pacers for two future second-round picks and added veteran backup point guard Donte DiVincenzo to help their backcourt with his playoff experience. They also lost fan-favorite point guard Derrick Rose to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Coming Back Stronger
After playing in the FIBA Olympics over the summer with teammate Barret, Brunson stated at the team’s media day press conference that he is excited heading into this season. “We all came back better, we all came back wiser… couldn’t be more than happy to go into games with this crew, and I am excited,” Brunson said. Brunson is heading into his second season with the Knicks, coming off averaging a career-high 24 points and a team-leading 6.2 assists for New York last season. After joining the Knicks starting lineup after serving in a reserve role to the Mavericks in the prior year he is looking to take his game to the next level.
The team’s leading scorer and rebounder, Julius Randle, had a shaky playoff last season and is excited to start training camp coming off an injury-riddled end to the season last year. “I’m getting there,” the 2021 Most Improved Player said at Knicks media day regarding being fully healthy. “It’s still a process, every year is a process of getting better physically… I’ll be fine.”
Rounding out key players, RJ Barret is now heading into his fifth year after averaging 19.6 points and emphasized getting stronger in the off-season. “ I was in the weight room just trying to get stronger and be able to handle the NBA season,” Barrett said during media day.
The team will still have 2021 Coach of the Year, Tom Thibodeau, at the helm going into his third year with the team. The Knicks got off to a great start in their first preseason game, defeating the revamped Boston Celtics 114-107 behind Barrett’s and Brunson’s 12 and 10 points respectively. They will look to start their season the right way on October 25th when they open the regular season hosting the Celtics.
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