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Knicks Playoffs, Collision Course?

After four straight losing seasons, the New York Knicks may be poised to make it to the NBA Postseason.

With a weakened Eastern Conference due to some star players switching conferences and an organization that has moved on from Phil Jackson, the Knicks chances of clinching a playoff seed are now realistic.

In my humble opinion, these are the teams from both conferences that I think are guaranteed to make the playoffs (depending on healthiness of the team):

Western Conference:
•Golden State Warriors
•Houston Rockets
•San Antonio Spurs
•Oklahoma City Thunder
•Minnesota Timberwolves

Eastern Conference:
•Boston Celtics
•Cleveland Cavaliers
•Washington Wizards
•Toronto Raptors
•Milwaukee Bucks

The last three seeds in the East are easily up-for-grabs.  The 76ers, Knicks, Pistons, Magic, Pacers, and even the Miami Heat are all teams who will compete for 7-9.

New York could make a big statement to the rest of the league making the playoffs. They have a lot of raw and young talent that still needs to grow, as do other franchises like Philadelphia, and Philly had more reasonable playoff hopes entering the year. While New York was anticipated to still be one of the worst teams in the NBA; playoffs not only give these young guys experience, but it gives the entire organization some pride they haven’t been able take within themselves in years.

Preseason Dreams Become Real

ESPN power rankings at the beginning of the year put the Knicks 27th out of 30 teams and their NBA BPI Playoff Odds estimate the likelihood for each team to make the playoffs and win the NBA title, gave New York just a 9.6% chance to make the playoffs.

Four weeks into the year, they’ve already jumped to 19th and mathematically, increases their playoff percentage as well as confidence.

For the Knicks organization as a whole, including the players, front office, and their fans, have suffered immensely ever since Paul George and the Pacers eliminated the 54-win Knicks in 2013.

Since that Game 6 loss, here’s a look at how each season has shaped up…

2013-2014: 37-45
2014-2015: 17-65
2015-2016: 32-50
2016-2017: 31-51

Not a lot of winning, but there are two positives Knicks fans can take from those losing records. They’re now in the past and it got us a number four overall pick to draft Kristaps Porzingis. Also, Frank Ntilikina this past year at #8.

Anthony being traded is actually a positive in disguise. There has been way more passing of the ball around the entire rotation, it’s no longer get ball to iso-Melo.

This is a new-look Knicks team, and the chemistry between the players and the front office are much improved. You can tell there is way less tension than last season’s disaster.

Just look at Enes Kanter’s tweet from the other night:

I can guarantee you not one Knicks player would have tweeted this at any point of last season.

Additions like Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jarret Jack really complete and effect this team’s chemistry and play. They are leaders and professionals on and off the court that will contribute to the growth of the young stars in Porzingis, Ntilikina, and Willy Hernangomez.

Just after LeBron James’ arrogant comments towards Phil Jackson and Ntilikina, his teammates came to his defense immediately.

With all that being said, the potential is through the roof and it’s only growing as games go by. For the first time in years, thanks to Ntilikina, there may be a legit point guard to look forward to, which has been an issue the Knicks never seem to solve.

He already ranks 3rd in the NBA for steals per game (2.0) only averaging 20 minutes a game.

Porzingis has already begun his attempt to win MVP. 29.5 PPG
7.2 RPG
1.1 APG
2.2 BPG
49.8 FG%
41.7 3P%

While I do believe the Knicks will still fall short of a playoff spot, it’s the closest they’ve been since 2013 and this season represents the big step forward the Knicks will take towards becoming a legitimate competitor year-after-year, and no longer being the laughing stock, dumpster fire of the NBA.

 

About Robbie Callaghan

Yankees, Knicks, NY Giants, NY Rangers.

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