After a season in which fans were left hopeful for the future of the team, the Knicks have regressed in almost every way… what happened?
Coaching problems from last season have become more apparent.
Tom Thibodeau won Coach of the Year last year, which was well-deserved since the team improved with him as head coach. Although he won Coach of the Year, there were problems with his team—mainly the point guard problem, a problem that still persists. For 63 of 72 games last year he started Elfrid Payton, a point guard who at his best was average and at his worst was one of the worst in the league. The backup point guards (last season) were performing much better than Payton. For some reason, Thibodeau didn’t want to start Derrick Rose, the far superior point guard. Tom Thibodeau also favors his veterans. With the Knicks not being a very good team this year, many fans have hoped Tom Thibodeau would be playing younger players more often, such as Immanuel Quickly and Cam Reddish. Instead, Thibodeau insists on starting Alec Burks – who hasn’t played point guard since sophomore year of high school. This decision has caused many people to question Thibodeau’s position, and many fans hope he is fired once the season is over.
This season, the Knicks’ best player from last season has looked very, very bad. After signing a 100 million dollar extension over the summer, Randle regressed in every way possible. All of his percentages are down, and many things that Knicks fans hated about him in 2019 have returned. He uses post moves that consistently result in turnovers, inefficient shooting, and hesitating to take the ball inside (even when having good games). Unlike Randle, RJ Barrett has stepped up and become the team’s first option. The two don’t work well together on the court, with both having issues scoring when on the court together, as well as other teams outscoring the Knicks when on the court. This leads Knicks fans to believe it’s possible that Randle could be traded in the offseason, and this belief is bolstered by reports from within the organization suggesting he may not be a Knick come next season.
Another problem with the Knicks this season has been the effort on both ends of the floor. Offensively, beyond RJ Barret, every major offensive piece the Knicks had last season has regressed. Here is a breakdown:
Julius Randle: 2021: 24.1 Points/6 Assists/ 10.2 Rebounds 46% Field Goal
2022: 19.6 Points/ 5.2 Assists/ 10 Rebounds 41% Field Goals
Alec Burks: 2021: 12.7 P/ 2.2A/ 4.6R 42%FG 2022: 11P/ 2.7A/ 4.6R 38%(!!!)FG
Derrick Rose: INJURED
Reggie Bullock: Left in free agency
Immanuel Quickly: 2021: 11.4P/ 2A/ 2.1R 40%FG 2022: 9.8P/ 3A/ 2.6R 38%FG
(Field Goal % is shots made/shots attempted)
When watching the Knicks this season, you can see that they don’t play with the same fight they did last year. They don’t run up and down the court the way they did, they don’t carry themselves the same way they did. An example of this is RJ Barret’s 46 point game in Miami this year. RJ played extremely well, yet nobody else looked like they wanted to be there. Whether it’s something in the locker room or simply just not playing at the same level as they did last year, the Knicks’ season is all but over, but… there is hope for the future. With a potentially good draft pick and some good young players, there is hope for the Knicks’ future, and we just have to see what the front office decides to do with the current team we have.
All statistics provided from: Basketball-Reference.com