Ben Kuchipudi ‘25
As I’m writing this, we’re only six games into the NBA season, but it looks like last year wasn’t a fluke for the New York Knicks. After eight years of pain for Knicks fans (myself included), it seems like the Knicks are finally on the right track to success.
On opening night against the rival Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks squeaked out a 138-134 double overtime victory in what may already be the game of the year, with superstar Julius Randle pouring in 35 points and newcomer Evan Fournier scoring 32 on his former team, including 17 in the fourth quarter and overtime. They then blew out the hapless Orlando Magic on the road in a 121-96 victory with seven players scoring in double figures. The Knicks gave away the next game against the same Orlando Magic at home, but they followed that up with statement wins against the Philadelphia 76ers and the surging Chicago Bulls, with newcomer and Bronx native Kemba Walker leading the Knicks in scoring both games. They almost lost to the New Orleans Pelicans without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, but RJ Barrett dropped a career high 35 points to will the Knicks to victory. Like I said, it’s only been six games, but last year was no fluke. Many “experts” predicted the Knicks to regress this season, but I think they can be even better than last year and push for 50 wins and a top seed in the Eastern conference.
A huge reason why the Knicks look so much better than last year’s squad is the new, uptempo offense they have. In the offseason, the Knicks replaced liability Elfrid Payton and spot up shooter Reggie Bullock with two shot creators in Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, and because of that they have a top five offense through the first six games. They are fourth in the league in three point percentage at 38 percent and third in points per game at 115.8 after being a bottom ten offense in 2021. Shot creation was the reason why the Knicks fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs with Julius Randle and Derrick Rose being the only shot creators, but things could be a little different this year with Walker and Fournier in the backcourt.
Knicks fans go crazy after every win, and that’s okay, as they are the most passionate fan base in the league and they have suffered enough since James Dolan bought the team 22 years ago. They’ve been waiting for this moment since 2013 when the Knicks won 54 games, and you can argue that this is the most fun most fans have had since the 1990s. For years, the Knicks have relied on the New York atmosphere to attract marquee free agents, and the organization never realized these players actually have to be good to sign them (looking at you, summer of 2019). Now, they can rely on being a solidified up and coming contender to sign high caliber players. They no longer have to bank on stars to make a terrible team good, but rather, can focus on adding one to make a good team great.
It’s still too early to say where the Knicks will finish come April, but they are good, and they should continue to be good for years to come with a young core led by Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, veterans such as Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose, and a well respected staff led by head coach Tom Thibodeau, general manager Scott Perry, and president Leon Rose. They also have the assets to make a huge trade if a star like Damian Lillard, Karl-Anthony Towns, or dare I say Zion Williamson becomes available, and that move may come sooner rather than later if the Knicks feel like they’re one piece away from contending.
The NBA is more fun when the Knicks are good, and after suffering under Phil Jackson and horrible head coaches for years, it’s safe to say that the New York Knicks are back, and as I finish this article, I have two words to say: BING BONG.