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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Tom Thibodeau, Knicks Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Knicks’ defense has been dominant

Tom Thibodeau has a long history of coaching in the NBA and his teams have become synonymous with defense. Once an assistant coach with the hardnosed 90s Knicks, he then became the defensive mastermind behind the 2008 champion Boston Celtics, and then lead the Chicago Bulls to their most successful period since Michael Jordan. He’s always pushed the teams he’s coached to be their absolute best.

The same rings true with the 2020-21 New York Knicks. Thibodeau’s defense is grueling not just for opponents but for his own players. That’s why it’s so hard to beat.

Opposing teams come in to play the Knicks and think that there’s no way their opponent can keep up that defensive intensity all game long. There’s no way the team can continue to dart around the court at a rapid pace and bring relentless pressure all game. They’re wrong.

The Knicks defense has dominated all season. On the year, the team currently ranks 1st in points allowed, 1st in opponent field goal percentage, and 1st in opponent 3-point field goal percentage. There is simply no easy way to get shots off against the Knicks.

While the team’s offense isn’t up to par with its defense, it hasn’t played too much of a factor, especially as of late. The defense that the team plays allows them to be competitive with any team they go up against. Teams aren’t themselves when they play the Knicks, and this bodes well for the playoffs.

Even in their recent losses to some of the best teams in the league like the Clippers and the Jazz, the Knicks were in the game until the end. This team hasn’t had an identity in years. Now, they have a defensive persona that makes them a nightmare for anyone to play against. They’ve become a team that no one wants to play in a 7-game series.