New York Knicks: 4 bench players who have thrived this season

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Jan 8, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks’ Kevin Knox II (20) drives to the basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in New York. The Thunder defeated the Knicks 101-89 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Seth Wenig/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have been piling up early wins due to the camaraderie of their starting lineup as well as the cohesiveness of their bench.

The New York Knicks have surprised many people with their blazing hot start to the year, which has settled down a bit in evening their record at 5-5 after ten games. The wins have come against quality teams, with six of their first eight opponents having made the playoffs last season.

The most obvious reason for these wins has been the coaching impact of Tom Thibodeau and the superstar-level play of Julius Randle. 20-year old RJ Barrett is also stepping up as a secondary scoring option, Elfrid Payton has been a steady presence at point guard, and Mitchell Robinson has blossomed as the team’s starting center.

For all of the acclaim that the starters rightfully deserve, the Knicks have been able to rack up wins thanks to the production that they’ve been getting from their bench. Their rotation has been decimated by a slew of injuries so they haven’t been able to employ the “bench mob” strategy that other teams utilize.

Instead, they’ve used their remaining reserves alongside the starters. Thibodeau usually lets them check-in at the end of the first quarter, sees who’s shot is falling, then plays them for the rest of the game. The Knicks don’t have a true 6th man just yet, with four separate players taking turns leading the bench in scoring over the team’s first eight games.

These four players are due a sizable amount of credit for New York’s early progress and there’s a good chance that the Knicks wouldn’t be where they are in the standings without their contributions.

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