Knicks: Playoff Chances and Second Half Schedule Preview

Julius Randle, Knicks. POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
Julius Randle, Knicks. POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /
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NY Knicks
Immanuel Quickley, NY Knicks (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

With the All-Star weekend officially upon us and no NBA action until March 10, it’s time to take a look at what the second half of the year might bring for the NY Knicks.

But before we dive into that, why don’t we begin by reflecting on the first half of the season that was:

The Record: 19-18 (.514)

The Knicks, currently the 5th ranked team in the Eastern Conference head into the All-Star break with a record above .500. The last time New York held a +.500 record at this stage of a season was 2012-2013. That year, the team finished the regular season top of the Atlantic Division and held the number 2 seed in the East.

The NY Knicks have a legitimate chance at a playoff run.

While this squad won’t finish with quite the same record as in 2012-2013, it is still safe to count this year’s campaign to date as a resounding success.

New York has defied the expectations of many, transforming themselves from a perennial lottery team to a legitimate playoff chance under the tutelage of head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Three highlights of the first half of the season:


  • In just half a season the Knicks have gained the respect of the league with their relentless team defense. Going into the break New York is ranked second in defensive rating (108.1) and currently holds opposing teams to the lowest FG% in the league.
  • Additionally, the Knicks hold claim to the best three-point defense through the first half, allowing opponents to shoot just 33.2% from deep, a remarkable improvement from their 28th ranked three-point defense a season ago (per Cleaning the Glass)
  • Defense wins games, and the Knicks are proving it.

Julius Randle – All-Star

  • What a remarkable turnaround Julius Randle has made this season, a deserving first-time All-Star and the undisputed leader of this Knicks team. He has turned himself into the cornerstone of the Franchise and won the admiration of all Knick fans, of whom many (myself included) doubted him and would have rejoiced at seeing him traded in the offseason. – I’ve never been happier about being proven wrong in my entire life. Good for you Julius.
  • Randle is putting up eye-catching numbers, averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. Oh and he’s also shooting it at a 41% clip from three on 4.6 attempts per game. Good lord – He’s making a serious case for All-NBA recognition come to the end of the season.
  • If you haven’t already seen it, Randle penned an article for The Players Tribune speaking about that season a year ago and his mindset going into this year. It’s a damn good read and I recommend you take a look. You can find the article here.

Immanuel Quickley

  • What can I say about Quick that hasn’t already been said. He’s a stud and he’s only just scratching the surface on what he can become. He’s arguably the 3rd most important player on the team and he is still yet to play significant minutes on a nightly basis.
  • The fact he was snubbed from the Rising Stars game at All-Star weekend is not a reflection of his play this season, instead, it is a reflection of the absurdity that is the Rising Star USA vs World format – IQ has already proven the doubters wrong this season, and this will just add fuel to the already raging fire.
  • Daily Knicks took a more comprehensive look at IQ earlier in the season, breaking down his game. If you happened to miss it, you can catch it here.

With some key first-half highlights out of the way, what does the rest of the season have in store for the Knicks, and what are their chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 2013? Let’s break it down over the next few slides: