The New York Knicks will turn back into pumpkins, but for now, enjoy the ball.
Coming back from the All-Star break, the Knicks find themselves with a record of 19-18, which is good enough for 5th in the East. Not too shabby. The East is a three team race at the moment between the Sixers, Nets and Bucks. It’s unlikely any other team in the East will top any of those three for the crown. But the Kicks are 7-3 in their last 10, and sit 15th in ESPN latest power rankings.
Can the Knicks keep it up? That is the question.
No one expected them to sit at 5th in the east at the halfway mark in Tom Thibodeau’s first season, but here we are. Julius Randle leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists and made the All-Start Game. Can he keep that performance up in the second half? Obi Toppin, 23, was featured in this weekend’s Slam Dunk Contest.
RJ Barrett has emerged in his sophomore season as a legit threat from beyond the arch. Will the Knicks continue to support his growth and even possibly build this team up around the rising star? The team is young and talented, will they build on what they have? You want to say yes, but afterall… it’s the Knicks.
Competition Gets More Difficult In The Second Half Of The Season
In fact, the schedule gets notably harder for the Knicks post All-Star Break. The Knicks ranked 30th in strength of schedule in the first half of the season, meaning they had the easiest slate of any team in the league. That now jumps to the 3rd hardest schedule in the second half. I hope they enjoyed the break and are well rested because that tough schedule starts Thursday with a trip to Milwaukee to face Giannis and the Bucks. Four days after that it’s a brutal back to back with the Nets and Sixers.
Knicks a Team To Watch In The Second Half
I mean, it’s the Knicks, right? This could end in all sorts of different situations. They could go from surviving a brutal second half of the season and making the playoffs, or they could trade Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, implode and end up with a top 10 draft pick. And neither scenario would shock any basketball fan, let alone a Knicks fan.
I, for one, hope they go the route that sees them make the playoffs or go down swinging. And build around Randle and Barrett. I’ve lived in the New York area for going on 14 years and I remember two things about the Knicks in that span; Linsanity and the time they offered free concessions if you just showed up for a game. The Nets are rockin’ and rolling, it’s time the Knicks did the same.
It’s time this city was a basketball town again!
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