The New York Knicks Are Having A Breakout Season

Published on February 28, 2024, 1:03 pm
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The New York Knicks have surprised many NBA fans and analysts this season. After missing the playoffs for the past eight seasons, the Knicks currently hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 35-27 record. They seem poised to clinch their first playoff berth since 2013.

Much of the credit for the Knicks’ success goes to their core group of players, led by All-Star forward Julius Randle. The 26-year-old Randle is averaging career highs in points (23.2), rebounds (11.1) and assists (5.5) per game this season. He has firmly established himself as the Knicks’ franchise player. Supporting Randle is guard RJ Barrett, the Knicks’ 2019 first-round pick out of Duke University. The 20-year-old Barrett is averaging 17.6 points per game in his second NBA season. His scoring ability and improving shooting have been crucial for New York.

Other key contributors include guard Immanuel Quickley and center Nerlens Noel. Quickley, a rookie from the University of Kentucky, provides a spark off the bench with his three-point shooting and crafty scoring ability. Noel, a defensive specialist, is averaging 2.2 blocks per game and continues the Knicks’ storied history of great defensive big men. Even some savvy veteran additions like point guard Derrick Rose and forward Taj Gibson have played important roles in the Knicks’ success.

One player Knicks fans are especially excited to see contribute is rookie guard Cole Anthony. The University of North Carolina product overcame an early-season knee injury to earn a regular spot in coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. Anthony’s scoring and playmaking abilities make him a big part of the Knicks’ future plans.

With this balanced roster playing hard-nosed defense and sharing the ball on offense, the Knicks seem built for sustainable winning under Thibodeau’s leadership. Many sportsbooks and betting sites now give them strong odds of not just making the playoffs, but even coming out on top in the East.

Can the Knicks Win the Conference?

According to most sportsbooks, the Knicks have emerged as a dark horse contender to win the Eastern Conference. Popular sites like FanDuel Sportsbook list New York with 10/1 odds to win the East. With a sparkling 20-11 record against conference foes, the Knicks stack up well against East competitors like Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Milwaukee.

Not all betting sites are convinced yet, though. DraftKings Sportsbook gives New York just 16/1 odds to win the conference championship – significantly lower than bookmakers like FanDuel. While betting on NBA playoff results is not currently legal in places like North Carolina, providers hope legislation catches up soon to allow fans everywhere to wager on breakout teams like the Knicks capturing unprecedented success.

While oddsmakers and basketball fans continue placing bets now that sports betting in North Carolina has been legalized, the Knicks potentially making a deep playoff run seemed improbable just months ago after years of futility.

For a franchise that has struggled so much recently, just making the playoffs would mark a very successful season for the Knicks in most expert evaluations. Coach Thibodeau, though, will keep pushing his players down the stretch run to secure the best possible seed. Home court advantage could prove critical – New York is 19-8 at Madison Square Garden, buoyed by finally having passionate fans back in the arena.

With two regular season matchups left against both Philadelphia and Atlanta, holding their ground will be tough. But if Randle keeps playing at an All-NBA level and the team’s defense stays stingy, this group has the talent and chemistry to surprise. Come the playoffs, anything could happen.

The Knicks are relevant again in the NBA thanks to their breakout campaign. For a loyal fanbase patiently enduring a painful drought between winning seasons, this year feels different. Perhaps the road back to contention rises through New York after all. The pieces are in place for this team to keep growing and stick around the top of the East beyond this spring. What once felt improbable now looks more than possible if their key players shine under the postseason spotlight.


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Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.