Julius Randle and the New York Knicks look to be in mid-season form, as the All-Star forward hit a game-winner over the Wizards to take his team into the regular season.
Randle’s 18-foot jump shot over big man Daniel Gafford gives the Knicks a 4-0 record this preseason.
New York will take on the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, October 20th at home for their 2021-2022 regular-season opener.
And if their exhibition play across the last four games tells us anything, they certainly look ready to make a statement.
Fans won’t forget that last season, their first reaching the playoffs since 2013, ended sourly, with Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks putting them away in five games.
But no New York Knicks fan will let you tell that story without first mentioning the absence of Mitchell Robinson, who was sidelined with a fractured right foot.
The team’s starting center made his long-awaited return to the floor on Friday against the Washington Wizards.
Robinson: ‘Overall I Felt Great’
202 days since he last touched an NBA floor, big man Mitchell Robinson returned to the New York Knicks lineup.
And, well, he looked like someone who was nearly a year removed from basketball.
But there were flashes of the old Robinson too, leaving fans with something to monitor as the regular season gets underway.
In regards to how he felt getting some run for the first time since March, the Knicks center was honest (via Newsday) with reporters after Friday’s win:
Overall I felt great. Have to work on getting my touch back and conditioning. That’s the main thing. Yes. I felt really tired. Not as tired as you would have thought. It was bad but not that bad.
Robinson added that he will be available and ready for New York’s season opener against the Boston Celtics.
The New York Knicks are starting this season differently than they ended the last: with a healthy and whole roster.
But only time will tell with Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker at the helm.
New York’s Point Guards Look Ready
When the New York Knicks brought back point guard Derrick Rose, fans reacted with mixed emotions.
While happy the team was bringing back their leading scorer from the 2021 postseason, some worried about the former MVP’s durability in a season-long capacity with the team.
Rose has a resume full of different injuries that have held him back since tearing his ACL in April of 2012.
But then the Knicks pulled off the unexpected, bringing Kemba Walker home as a free agent by way of a buyout agreement with the OKC Thunder.
This move placed Rose back into a reserve role, the second-string point guard, and puts less pressure on the aging veteran on a night-to-night basis.
But it’s a double-edged sword, given that Walker’s injury history is a recent one.
The 31-year old guard played 99 out of 144 possible games in his two seasons with the Boston Celtics.
Yet thus far, despite his resting New York’s third preseason game, Walker looks healthy and as dangerous as ever.
His shot isn’t falling consistently just yet, but one can chalk that up to an acclimation period with his new team.
Especially when he’s doing (via @nyknicks on Twitter) things like this, centerstage in basketball’s loudest arena:
And for as much as fans worry about Rose, his 28-point performance against the Wizards should calm any concerns.
For now, the New York Knicks look well prepared for the 2021-2022 season, and a second-straight playoff berth.
Tip-off for October 20th’s regular-season opener against the Celtics is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST.