Perhaps surprisingly, the New York Knicks’ season came to a close after being eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Although the Knicks held home court advantage, the team was dispatched in just five games in rather dominating fashion. The NBA’s Most Improved Player Julius Randle never quite found a rhythm, and a lot of that can be chalked up to the Hawks playing good defense.
All things considered, the season was a success for the Knicks as they vastly exceeded the expectations set for them. Of course, being bounced in the first round isn’t ideal and some Knicks players have make strong statements about the future.
Rookie Immanuel Quickley vowed to come back stronger next season.
Big Words From the Rookie Guard
Quickley, who had a strong performance in Game 5, says the team will be “back and better” in the next season, which is big talk.
The Knicks managed to secure home court advantage in the first round which is no small feat. As they saw, they still need to make up a lot of ground if they want to compete with the likes of the 76ers or Nets, and even the Hawks as proven by the series.
Something the Knicks do have working in their favor is their young core of Quickley, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson should continue to improve and they are all still on their initial rookie contracts.
This means the time for them to start looking for pay raises is still a while away and there are many ways to improve the team in the meantime. Julius Randle will likely be brought back through his team option next year, but there will be other tough decisions the team has to make.
Roster Could Get an Overhaul
With so much of the team signed to 1-year contracts, there’s a chance that this roster could go through some drastic changes.
Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, Nerlens Noel, Reggie Bullock and Taj Gibson all have expiring contracts, so the team will have to decide who to bring back.
It appears that Rose, Gibson and Bullock will all be willing to come back, but it gets murkier for a name like Noel. He’ll likely be looking for a big pay day, something the Knicks might not be willing to dish out.
The team might have to look for a complimentary scorer that isn’t Derrick Rose to place next to Randle. It was obvious that without Randle on his A-game, it’s hard for the team to compete. Some of this could have been alleviated with consistent scoring threats. Obviously, it’s easier said than done, but the team will have a bunch of cap space to play with, so it’s possible.
If the team is going to make the leap like Quickley suggests, then they will need to use their space wisely and make upgrades in key areas, notably at the point guard position.
Payton fell out of favor in the playoffs, meaning his return to the team is very up in the air. We’ll just have to wait and see what the Knicks have cooking in this important offseason.