Why the New York Knicks can make the playoffs and thrive

Knicks. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Knicks. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Knicks. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks currently find themselves 6th in the Eastern Conference, and despite coming off a loss to an inferior Orlando Magic team last night,  it looks as though they’re beginning to cement themselves as a team to be reckoned with.

The team has been right on the cusp of the playoffs all season, bouncing around the 6th-11th seed range. There isn’t much in the standings to differentiate a lot of the teams in the East right now. The 11th seed is just 3 games back from the 4th seed.

There’s a lot of basketball left this year.  It’s fair to say that most teams in the NBA right now could make an argument as to how their team is going to at least squeak into the playoffs with the play-in tournament for the bottom seeds at the end of the season. With the Knicks, their argument has substantial evidence.

This is unfamiliar territory for the franchise. It’s almost March — The Knicks haven’t been top 8 in the standings in March since the 2013-14 season.

The difference with the Knicks this year is, well, everything. The team has gone a complete overhaul of both their front office and coaching staff. Even just saying it was an overhaul of “coaching staff and front office” doesn’t give justice to how drastic these changes are.

What it means is a complete shift in scouting,  player development, asset management, draft priorities, defensive and offensive schemes, player rotations, and every other piece of terminology you can think of that relates to running an NBA team.

So while the roster may be very similar to last season, the forces surrounding it essentially started from scratch. Their transformation has been nothing short of spectacular.

So many of the question marks surrounding the Knicks’ organization now seem to have been answered. The potential with this team feels a lot stronger than many of the other teams with similar records in the East.  Let’s take a look at how the team got here and how they can make some noise in the playoffs.