The New York Knicks easily dispatched the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon on the shoulders of a strong game by Julius Randle, and it caught the attention of former Boston Celtics champ Kendrick Perkins.
All throughout the offseason, everyone seemed to think Donovan Mitchell would be suiting up in a Knicks jersey, but he was eventually traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While he’s been starring for the Cavs, Perkins thinks it isn’t all bad for New York.
“Let’s take moment to appreciate Randle, Brunson and the Knicks for playing some damn good basketball… showing the basketball World that you can still compete and win games at a high level without having a “Superstar” on your team!!! Carry on…,” he tweeted.
The Knicks have had some nice streaks this season, and for a season that many expected to end in a play-in berth at best, New York has outperformed those expectations so far.
Knicks Are Winning People Over
Sweeping the Pistons isn’t something that’s going to get many people excited about the Knicks, but it has shown they can beat teams they are supposed to beat.
The biggest thing to look at this year is the reemergence of Julius Randle. After making an All-Star team, the Knicks star slumped last season and was a big part of the team’s issues.
This year with Jalen Brunson manning the point guard position, Randle has benefited in a huge way. He’s not the playmaker he had to be in previous years, and it’s looking that’s been a good thing for him.
Randle is averaging a career-best 24.5 points per game on 46 percent shooting. His assists are down to 3.8 a game, but that’s to be expected when the offense isn’t running through him as often as the past. The end result of this has been a successful team that looks like it might be able to secure a playoff spot instead of having to fight through the play-in tournament.
Brunson Worth Every Penny
When Brunson was signed to open free agency, it didn’t really create a bunch of excitement outside of fans in New York as many people assumed Mitchell would be coming to town.
That never happened and the season got started with Brunson as the marquee pickup, but he’s looking like he could become a member of the All-Star team if things go trending in the right direction.
Brunson is averaging 22.3 PPG, by far a career high for the point guard, and he’s also chipping in 6.4 assists a game, another career high.
The four-year, $104 million contract is looking like a real bargain now, and if Brunson is able to keep up this type of production over the course of the deal, then the Knicks should find themselves as a consistent playoff team for at least the next four seasons.
It will help to see players such as Quentin Grimes and RJ Barrett continue to get better as the years go on. Barrett has looked good this season before an injury caused him to miss several games just as he was getting the ball rolling.
He has since returned to the lineup, but his shooting is still streaky and he’ll need to find his form again. He shot just 4-10 from the field in the win over the Pistons, but with Randle carrying the load that’s all that was needed from him.