What’s Next for the Knicks Now and Beyond?

Our old friend, Chris Herring, is at now, and he has a nice piece up about the Knicks that, well, I dunno, man, I just needed something for a new thread since the Knicks don’t play again until Sunday.

What’s the next step for the formidable Knicks, both now and beyond this year?

For now just about everything starts with forward Julius Randle. He was a tornadic turnover machine last season, coughing up more miscues in one-on-one situations than any other volume scorer in the league. Yet after a tireless offseason, Randle’s been a completely different, All-NBA type player this year, averaging 32.2 points, 8.5 boards and 5.2 assists on 50.7% from three the past two and a half weeks.

The challenge here is that opposing teams likely won’t let him wreak havoc that way in a playoff series.

Yes, at times Randle calls his own number in the middle floor, where it’s tougher to double-team him. But clubs like the Celtics and Heat will send aggressive traps at him when he’s serving as a pick-and-roll ballhandler. Similarly, when Randle’s acting as the roll man, defenses will sell out on him and simply dare guard Elfrid Payton to shoot floaters, which he connects on just 38% of the time, according to Synergy.

Derrick Rose, who’s knocked down his wildly flat midrange jumpers at a career-best rate this year and created a bevy of “Kobe Assists,” presents one obvious way to get around the Payton problem.

More than anything, though, Randle—equal parts freight train and maestro—will have to let the game come to him if and when teams seek to force the ball out of his hands. That means trusting his teammates in the corner, where the Knicks have launched a greater share of triples than any other NBA team thus far.

“Knocking those down is crucial, because it makes the defense change what it’s doing. It’s a huge help to [Randle] and our team,” says second-year wing RJ Barrett, who’s enjoying a breakout season of his own.

New York was dead-last in the NBA, at 32.8% from three, when left wide open in January. The club ranked fourth in February at 42.9% on those shots. Then ranked eighth in March at 41.9%. No one’s been better than the Knicks in April, a month when they’ve hit 48.4% of their wide-open treys.

Lots more good stuff at the link. Go read it. Herring is great. And I adore that he used the term “Kobe assists.”

My one criticism is that he does one of those sort of, “I’m not saying, I’m just saying” bits at the end where he doesn’t really actually answer his own headline question as to what he thinks is next for the Knicks. It’s obviously one of the questions that has been dominating our mindspace for some time now, even as much as we’ve been enjoying the winning streak, “What comes next?” is an important question and it’s fascinating just how open-ended everything is. In a good way, I’d say, but I think there are some obvious pitfalls out there, and that’s what I would have liked to have seen Herring address a bit more. Still, it’s a good piece and it’s always nice to see the Knicks get praised in places like

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Future Knick Zach LaVine’s Team

The Knicks host the LaVine-less Bulls in what has got to be a must-win (or should I say, they obviously should win, so a loss would be devastating) game ahead of some tougher future games.

The Eastern Conference is somehow actually still bunched together even after the Knicks’ awesome nine-game winning streak, so they need to pick up wins in games where they are the clear favorites, like tonight.

Let’s go, get back to winning, Knicks!

NY Post: Chris Paul delivers dagger in bitter end to Knicks’ winning streak

From Marc Berman:

After losing in Brooklyn on Sunday, Suns star Devin Booker vowed to finish his team’s five-game Eastern swing with a victory at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

“That’s last thing we said in the locker room,’’ Booker said. “We’ll be ready for [Monday].’’

And so they were. The Knicks have a lot of good things going but they don’t have Booker. They don’t have point guard Chris Paul — try as they might have. And they don’t have emerging standout Mikal Bridges, even though they could have.

In a bitter end to the Knicks’ nine-game winning streak, Paul connected on three daggers in the final 1:20, including a wild circus shot, to lift the mighty Suns to a 118-110 victory Monday at the Garden.

The Knicks, who finish their six-game homestand Wednesday against the Bulls, blew a 15-point lead they built in the second quarter.

“It’s over — win the next one,’’ said a dejected Julius Randle, who put forth a rare stinker amid his All-Star campaign. “I’m fine. I saw a lot of bodies but it was what it was. The game’s in the past and move onto the next one. Find a way to close out the homestand with a win.’’

“I saw a lot of bodies” is a weird thing to say.

Anyhow, they played one of the most successful teams in the NBA (I really don’t think they’re as good as their record, but they’re still quite good) to the last 30 seconds, so that was very impressive.

One of the things that has been fascinating is how the Knicks’ offense has slowly but surely been ratcheting up the three-pointers taken and it has done a world of good for this offense. Love to see it.

Now, just go kick the Bulls’ butt on Wednesday and start a new streak!

EDITED TO ADD: Look how weird this Mike Vaccarro article is. This dude got paid to basically just write nothing. It’s bizarre.

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Future Knick Chris Paul’s Team

On his breakout album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan released the song, “I Shall Be Free,” which was a version of an old Leadbelly song that Dylan’s idol, Woody Guthrie, had covered, but basically, it’s just a rambling satirical talking blues song. Even this early in his career (this was 1962), Dylan was already sort of poking fun at how much he was being treated as this great political thinker because he wrote, like, one hit song about stuff blowing in the wind. So in “I Shall Be Free,” President Kennedy is asking Bob for advice on how to run the country and Bob is giving nonsense answers “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?” I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot, Anita Eckberg, Sophia Loren”

A couple of years later, Dylan poked even more fun at how he was portrayed as such a political visionary with a song on 1964’s Another Side of Bob Dylan called “I Shall be Free No. 10.” He opened with false modesty, “I’m just average, common too
I’m just like him, the same as you
I’m everybody’s brother and son
I ain’t different from anyone
It ain’t no use a-talking to me
It’s just the same as talking to you.”

And just a bunch of nonsense. It’s a fun song, but Dylan has never played it live.

Anyhow, this has no bearing on tonight’s game, so I have no idea why I brought it up.

The Phoenix Suns come to town after being handled by the Harden-less Nets last night, so hopefully they’re tired.

Let’s go Knicks, go be free #10!

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Future Knick Kyle Lowry’s Team

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia for you. Can you name the first Beatle to have a solo #1 hit on the Billboard Top 100 and the last Beatle to have a solo #1 hit on the Billboard Top 100? It’s the same guy, as George Harrison beat his more famous bandmates to the punch with 1970’s “My Sweet Lord” and then was the last Beatle to have a top hit with 1987’s “I Got My Mind Set On You” which was off of a strong album called Cloud Nine (this is especially fascinating as Harrison only had three #1 singles and yet he somehow was the first and the last Beatle to get one. Can you name Harrison’s only other #1 hit?).

Here’s the title track, “Cloud Nine.”

I offer up that song for no reason, why do you ask?

The Knicks host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday afternoon with a chance to win another game. That would be swell.

Let’s go get to cloud nine, Knicks!

The Athletic: Knicks Sign Norvel Pelle to a Multiyear Deal

From Shams:

The New York Knicks are signing center Norvel Pelle to a multiyear deal, sources tell @TheAthletic. His second 10-day deal ended today. Pelle finds home after stops in Brooklyn and Sacramento this season.

Now, this is the sort of thing you should do with your cap room midseason. I’m sure it’s non-guaranteed. Good stuff. Buy any upside and if he sucks, cut him.

Great signing.

NY Post: Streaking Knicks clip Hawks to move into fourth in East

From Marc Berman:

It was a Knicks-Hawks battle for the fourth seed and home-court advantage, and it became a night of bloody carnage and overtime at the frenzied Garden.

Julius Randle scored 40 points and the Knicks (33-27) won their eighth straight game, posting a 137-127 victory Wednesday night before a wild crowd of 2,000 that was hyped right from the national anthem. The Knicks tied their longest winning streak since 2014, when they also won eight straight.

With their 3-point shooting frenzy, the Knicks survived the physical battle, which forced Hawks superstar Trae Young to miss the fourth quarter and OT.

More importantly, the Knicks moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference, which means if the season ended today, they would host a first-round playoff series. And it could be against these hot Hawks, which the Knicks swept 3-0 in the season series. There are a dozen games left before the Knicks’ first postseason since 2013.

You know that the Knicks are back when Marc Berman takes the time to do all of their write-ups. We haven’t seen Peter Botte in quite some time!

Anyhow, another outstanding victory. What was particularly great was to see Immanuel Quickley play such a major role in the win.

Eight in a row. Amazing. Let’s get to cloud nine on Saturday! Kyle Lowry as the future Knick writes itself, right?

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Future Knick…uhmm…Kevin Huerter (?)’s Team

I want to keep the future Knick bit going, but I got nothing.

Anyhow, the Knicks host the Atlanta Hawks in a big game that could decide which of these teams is the #4 seed, so winning their eighth in a row tonight would be nice!

Let’s go get #8, Knick!

NY Post: Knicks erupt in every way for seventh straight win

From Marc Berman:

Seven more assists from Julius Randle. Eleven more 3-pointers combined from backcourt men RJ Barrett and Reggie Bullock.

Countless more hustle pays by the nasty center tandem of Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson. And another second-half defensive gem by the Knicks, holding the Hornets to 31 points.

It all rolled out to a Lucky 7, and 1,7,53 socially distanced Garden fans loved it, giving the team a standing ovation in the final 50 seconds.

The Knicks won their seventh straight Tuesday by posting a 109-97 victory over Charlotte, rallying from a six-point halftime deficit after an opening first half when their defense was asleep.

The Knicks awoke long enough to register their longest win streak since rolling off eight consecutive wins during a 2014 playoff push that fell short.

“Amazing,’’ Randle said. “It’s got to be the first time in my career I’ve done that. It’s a great feeling. We’re all locked in what we need to do night to night. Let’s make it eight.’’

Another outstanding win. I wasn’t even particularly worried about the deficit at the half. I figured the Knicks would tighten the defense in the second half and that’s just what happened. The Knicks never slow down. They play balls to the wall every game and that gives them a big advantage over most teams.

They now have a chance to make it eight in a row tomorrow at the Garden with a chance to then get homecourt in the playoffs against the Hawks! Let’s hope that they pull it out!

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Future Knick Terry Rozier’s Team

Big game tonight as the Knicks go for their seventh win in a row against a banged-up Hornets team.

Ball is coming back soon, so it is good to get them now.

Let’s go get that #4 seed, Knicks!