Knicks: A comprehensive breakdown of the first ten games

Tom Thibodeau, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Thibodeau, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 29, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Knicks are 5-5. Breaking the season into 10-game intervals, I’ll review the positive and negative trends and what we can expect in the future.

The New York Knicks leave their fans on the edge of their seats every night. Ten games into the 2020-2021 season this team has been well-coached and has given maximum effort, or close to maximum every night on the floor.

Uniting Knicks Twitter is no easy task, and despite their tribal-like claims to superiority, the 90’s grit and grind club and the new school analytics crowd have all been smitten with the team’s defense and rebounding, Immanuel Quickey’s efficient production, Austin Rivers’ shot creation, and Julius Randle’s All-Star campaign.

Success aside, it’s still early, and anything can happen.

Let’s review the top positive and negative trends of the 2020-2021 season part 1.

Austin Rivers and Alec Burks are really important

I’ll be the first person to apologize to Austin Rivers. I was critical when the Knicks signed him and was severely uninformed regarding his growth as a player, especially his defense as a member of the Houston Rockets.

According to Cleaning the Glass, Rivers currently ranks within the 97th percentile in points per shot attempt, and despite a negative net rating, anyone watching the game can see that Rivers’ shot creation, play-making, and clutch play are reasons why the Knicks have an exciting team in 2021. Rivers also ranks within the 100th percentile in effective field goal percentage.

Similarly, Alec Burks has been a fantastic offseason signing for the Knicks. He may have only played in three games, but Burks is scoring over 20 points per game and is shooting over 60 percent from the three-point line. Barring any more injuries, the Knicks’ offensive efficiency is bound to improve when Burks gets back on the court. He’s also putting the Knicks in a prime position to finesse a draft pick from a contending team in need of shooting, prior to the trade deadline.