Zach Lowe just joined the Knicks hype train.
Lowe believes the Knicks can make it, at least, to the Eastern Conference Finals. He’s not yet ready to join Marks in trumpeting the once-moribund franchise as a Finals contender next season. But that’s already a rare praise for a team that has only made the playoffs thrice over the last 10 seasons. The last time they reached the Eastern Conference Finals was in 2000– that was 23 years ago going 24.
“They won a playoff series [last season],” Lowe said on the September 21 episode of the “NBA Today” on ESPN. “They demolished the Cleveland Cavaliers.”
“They competed hard against Miami in the second round. If I’m a Knicks optimist, Philadelphia? They’re a mess. Milwaukee? [They’re] facing some pressure. Boston? [They] gotta reinvent themselves around Kristaps Porzingis, some injury-prone guys. Miami? [They] still don’t have Damian Lillard. They got #Heat culture, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but don’t have Damian Lillard yet.”
“Why can’t we wake up in May and the New York Knicks are in the Conference Finals? Maybe not the finals; that might be a little much, but why not go to the Conference Finals? This is a good deep team [and] well coached. They’re going to grind defensively,” Lowe continued.
The Knicks are banking on the stability and continuity of a team that came two wins away from making it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season despite their two-time All-Star forward Julius Randle playing on one good ankle.
“The big obstacle for them in the playoffs, assuming they get back, is Julius Randle has to play better. He’s 34% from the field in his career for the playoffs. He’s been there twice. He shot poorly both times. That’s the next level for him and them, but the NBA Finals? That’s a little [too] much,” Lowe said.
Randle is expected to be ready for the training camp after a successful ankle surgery in June.
Tom Thibodeau Hopes to Bring Back ’90s Magic
As the Knicks try to build on their most successful season in a decade, coach Tom Thibodeau wants to keep it going by bringing back the good old days of the ’90s.
It will mark the first time the Knicks will hold camp in the Lowcountry since 2008.
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, is where the team used to hold training camps in their glory days in the ’90s — a tradition that former coach Pat Riley started. Thibodeau experienced those good old days as an assistant coach under Jeff Van Gundy, who continued the tradition. Interestingly, the only year they missed going there under Van Gundy was before their Cinderella run to the NBA Finals during the lockout-shortened season in 1998.
James Dolan ‘Don’t Really Like Owning Teams’
Knicks owner James Dolan created a stir anew after his recent interview with the New York Times.
“I don’t really like owning teams,” Dolan told the Times.
Dolan described the economics of major league sports as “kind of sleepy,” despite saying the Knicks and Rangers are “near and dear to my heart.”
However, Dolan has no plans of selling the team, he told WFAN in January 2023.
Dolan’s current focus is on The Sphere in Las Vegas, his most ambitious project that he hopes will be a game-changer in the entertainment industry and serve as his legacy.