Everything went wrong for the Knicks last season. What can they do to turn it around this season?
After a blowout win against the Detroit Pistons in the home opener, The Knicks currently hold a 1-1 record to start the 2022-2023 campaign. Besides the off-season addition of new Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson, the Knicks have maintained the same core of players they’ve had the previous season. This young squad is looking to right their wrongs from last season and prove that they can compete in the Eastern Conference. Will it happen? That remains to be seen but, here are some key components that need to happen in order for the Knicks to have a successful season.
The Ascension of RJ Barrett
During the offseason, Not only did the Knicks sign RJ Barrett to a 4 yr/$120 million dollar extension to stay with the team, they also passed up on a chance to acquire star guard Donavan Mitchell by keeping him. Barrett needs to prove to the franchise that they made the right choice. Despite the disastrous season the Knicks had last year, R.J Barrett had some great stretches of games and showed some flashes of the star the he can be. Last February, RJ Barrett played the best month of basketball in his young career. In 6 games, He averaged 28.3 PPG and 5.8 RPG while shooting nearly 40% from behind the arc.
Barrett ended the season averaging 20PPG while shooting over 40% from the field in 70 games. Recently, Barrett had a horrific shooting performance in the opening night loss to the Grizzlies, shooting 3-18 from the field and only tallying 11 points for the night. He had a better performance against the Pistons by scoring 18 points and shooting over 50% but the consistency has to be there in order for the Knicks to have any success this season. Hopefully, he will have the breakout out season Knicks fans have been waiting for.
Point guard production
This has been an everlasting issue for the Knicks franchise for years and the problem continued last season. With Derrick Rose being injured the majority of the season and Kemba Walker bouncing in and out of the line up, the point guard position was compromised the entire season. The Knicks went all in this past off-season by signing former Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson to a 4 yr/$104 million dollar contract. In 79 games, Brunson averaged 16.3 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 3.8 RPG for the Mavericks last year. He also had a great post season performance with the Mavericks last season alongside Luka Doncic and was a big reason why the reached the conference finals.
Plus, in the first two games as the Knicks Starting point guard, Brunson is averaging 16PPG and 7.5APG. Adding him with a healthy Derrick Rose and young talent in Immanuel Quickley should prove to be a great thing for this team moving forward. Good point guard production is what this team has been craving and is something that can potentially take this team to the next level.
The Julius Randle and Obi Toppin Saga
Now, the production from these two will be critical to not only this years success but also to who the Knicks will commit to going forward. Julius Randle has been involved in a few trade rumors since the end of last season and needs to show that he is worth the $117 million dollar extension the Knicks gave him in 2021. On the other hand, Obi Toppin has showed improvement and had a all-star caliber towards the end of last season.
Coach Tom Thibodeau needs to pull out his best Brian Daboll impression by finding a way to maximize Obi Toppin’s potential while also holding Randle accountable if he performs poorly. Thibs and the rest of the Knicks staff need to figure out what to do with these two depending on how good or bad they play because it make a big difference in the Knicks future for years to come.
There’s a lot of questions about this team going into this season. We will soon see what the 2022-2023 Knicks are made of.