Defining the New York Knicks 2020-21 season is a complex task. On one hand, you can say that the Knicks were overachievers. After being a lottery team in the previous season with a record of 21-45 the Knicks were able to make a complete turnaround in 2020. They achieved a record of 41-21 and secured the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference which gave them their first postseason berth since 2013.
On the other hand, you can say that the Knicks season was a disappointment. In their first postseason appearance in eight years, it appeared that Knicks’ basketball was back in full force. However, that thought was short-lived thanks to Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks who had optimism for a deep playoff run in the east were eliminated by the Hawks in five games.
Reggie Miller Doesn’t Think Julius Randle Is Enough To Win
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the New York Knicks playoff run was Julius Randle and not in a positive way. After a season in which he averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game, all of which are career highs, Randle had an abysmal first round against the Hawks. He averaged just 18.6 points per game, shot 29.8% from the field and 33.3 percent from the three-point line.
The Knicks defense was not the problem in the series but rather the offense as the Hawks zeroed in on stopping Randle and double-teamed him for much of the series. Despite winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2020, Hall of Famer Reggie Miller thinks it is clear that the Knicks need another star because Randle alone cannot lead them to the promised land.
“They need a superstar above Julius Randle,” Miller said per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “Because what the playoffs showed to me was a lot of his flaws. And Atlanta kind of highlighted that when they pressured him. He struggled to shoot the three — which he was great during the regular season. And it kind of showed his deficiencies. And if they’re going to build around him, that’s one thing. To me, I think they need a superstar.”
The Knicks Winning Will Attract Star Free Agents
With Madison Square Garden being considered the Mecca of basketball and playing in one of the NBA’s biggest markets on their side, the Knicks already were a considerable free agency destination. The reason that they have recently been overlooked by free agents is that they were not good, I mean that had not been to the playoffs in eight years prior to this season. But 2020 brought the excitement back to Knicks’ basketball. The Garden is back rocking, they have an All-Star forward, and a Coach of the Year in Tom Thibodeau. Nobody may be picking the Knicks to win the NBA title in the next few years, but Rome was not built in a day.
The Knicks could not have picked a more opportune time to become relevant again. This year’s free agency class features some of the most prominent names in basketball including Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul who have both proven that they are players who can change the fortunes of a franchise. Buckle up Knicks fans, this summer’s free agency is going to be quite the roller coaster ride.