Author: Ronan Gaine
It has been a tough few years for the New York Knicks, having failed to make the playoffs for four straight seasons but this could be the campaign where they return to the post-season. They may have lost their best player in the off-season but the new franchise centerpiece Kristaps Porzingis appears determined to drive the Knicks to their first winning season since 2012/13.
Struggles since 2000:
Things haven’t been great for the Knicks since the turn of the millennium, the Manhattan-based team has failed to make the playoffs in 12 of 17 seasons since the turn of the century. A big surprise after they made the previous 13 playoffs including two finals appearances, largely thanks to the now hall of fame center, Patrick Ewing.
The Knicks have been crying out for a new Patrick Ewing since his 2000 departure. Melo had the ability but failed to perform consistently over his six years in New York, but Porzingis is the linchpin now and looks to have all the attributes to take the Knicks to the playoffs and beyond in the coming years. The Latvian has scored at least 30 points in six of the nine Knicks wins this season. The power-forward is averaging 27.6 PPG this season, while also totting up 7.1 RPG and 2.3 BPG, at 7’ 3’’ inches he is the Knicks superstar phenom. He has had injury trouble this season though and the Knicks will need to keep him fit if they want to make the playoffs.
The season so far:
Home form has been key so far this season with a 8-3 record at Madison Square Garden but they must improve their defense if they are to maintain their top 8-spot in the Eastern Conference. They have only conceded less than 100 points on just four occasions this season and have conceded over 110 points on six occasions. They have been without one of their best defenders so far this campaign in Joakim Noah. The Center has been absent all season due to a drugs ban but has now returned to the roster. How long he will spend on the court is another question with Kyle O’Quinn proving a more than adequate center.
The Knicks are the most valuable NBA franchise worth $3.3 billion, they sell-out MSG for every home game and now it looks as though they can make a return to post-season basketball. It would not only be great for the city but it would be great for the sport to see one of their stalwarts return to playoff contention. While they may still be a couple of players short to really challenge for an Eastern Conference finals spot let alone an NBA finals spot, making it to the playoffs again is the first step. Yes, it is only 16 games into the season and yes, they only have a record of 9-7 but it’s been a tough four seasons and Porzingis is in sparkling form, so why not get excited?