New York Knicks: One key advantage against each top seed in the East

Julius Randle, NY Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Julius Randle, NY Knicks (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Reggie Bullock, NY Knicks
Reggie Bullock, NY Knicks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Knicks Advantage vs Bucks: Wing Defenders Galore

Much like the 76ers, the Bucks’ success is predicated on one player. While Milwaukee has done an admirable job of building a good supporting cast around their 26-year-old two-time league MVP, the Bucks title hops are centered completely around Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Greek Freak is enjoying another MVP-caliber campaign. He is currently averaging 28.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists (career-high), 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. He is dominant in every facet of the game sans one: outside shooting.

Thankfully, this gives teams like New York a fighting chance. Thibodeau’s squad features a number of good wing defenders. While none have an All-NBA Defense pedigree, several play critical roles on the league’s stingiest team.

Which other teams in the East can throw a combination like RJ Barrett (6’7”), Kevin Knox (6’9”), Julius Randle (6’9”), and Obi Toppin (6’9”)? Each player offers some combination of length, size, and strength. Each also brings a different approach to the table. Reggie Bullock has also provided a lot of physical defense on the perimeter this season

Barrett and Knox have the length to guard Giannis one way. Randle and Toppin have the strength to do so in another. The Greek Freak is more than capable of adjusting his style of play as needed. But the ability to mix and match his primary defender should be useful, especially when coupled with good team defense.

Issues like foul trouble and thinning options will not be an issue for New York. This is enough to contain Giannis? Likely not. But it is a good place to start.