New York Knicks: Stan Van Gundy thinks NYK took step forward

TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy said the New York Knicks are not a playoff team, but he liked the improvements made to the roster in the offseason.

The New York Knicks last found their playoff groove in 2013, long before the current roster was in place. The only “holdover” is president Steve Mills, who held a different role earlier this decade. Otherwise, through the Phil Jackson era and the multiple head coaches in place, postseason appearances have been nonexistent.

Expectations for extending the Knicks’ season may still not be high, but they reworked the roster in the summer, to change a team that went 17-65 in 2018-19.

Former NBA coach and TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy liked what the Knicks did, despite not thinking they can make the playoffs, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. He said they are “headed in the right direction,” but believes a “long process” is ahead.

“They got a better team and retain their flexibility,’’ Van Gundy said. “One of the things we saw this summer was important to free agents, it wasn’t just the money and place, but how is the organization doing? They can chase free agents next summer, but also left themselves flexibility for the [new] guys who play well — they have options and can re-sign them.

The Knicks have every chance to improve from that league-worst record, with players like Marcus Morris, Julius Randle and Bobby Portis in place. RJ Barrett has also started all three preseason games, and he projects to take a significant role as the year begins.

The unknown is far how they can go, especially without signing any star players. They have a more competitive group, as Van Gundy also said to Berman, but this could just result in a few more wins and a missed chance at the playoffs by more than a few games. It, too, stems from the development of young players, including Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, that will contribute to this team’s progress.

The Knicks, indeed, have a long way to go before returning to prominence. They just watched the Brooklyn Nets rise within 12 months, sign Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and become the talk of New York basketball. Amar’e Stoudemire, signing a max contract in 2010, became the last free-agent acquisition to have that impact, not including the Carmelo Anthony trade.

The New York Knicks have taken steps to become, at least, intriguing, but they have a few steps to take before reclaiming where they were six years ago.