NY Knicks skyrocket up NBA Power Rankings, how legit are they?

NY Knicks, RJ Barrett (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
NY Knicks, RJ Barrett (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The NY Knicks are riding an impressive 6-game winning streak that’s finally starting to get some attention around the league. Their winning streak is the team’s longest in 7 years and it’s seen them climb all the way to 12th on NBA.com’s power rankings, a 5 spot jump from last week, and their highest ranking of the season.

The win streak has come after a stretch where the NY Knicks lost some agonizingly close games. Back-to-back 2-point losses to the Celtics and the Nets,  with two embarrassing losses to the Mavericks and Timberwolves just before that – It’s made this win streak all the more magical. This team responds with their back against the wall.

NY Knicks: Can they continue to climb NBA Power Rankings?

The Knicks jumped 5 spots from 17th to 12th in the NBA’s power rankings, and they may not be stopping there. One spot ahead of the team is the Atlanta Hawks, who have been playing inspiring basketball under Nate McMillan The Knicks will play the Hawks on Wednesday – NY is 2-0 against Atlanta this season.

Even with this win streak, it’s not as though the trip has been smooth sailing. Just last game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Knicks came allowed a comfortable half-time lead to disappear, and found themselves on the brink of losing before Reggie Bullock hit a game-tying shot and Derrick Rose blocked Eric Bledsoe’s game-winning attempt. The Knicks would prevail in overtime, once again showing how hard it is to count this team out.

This isn’t a team that’s going to blow any of the top seeds out of the water with talent. Julius Randle has been the lone star-caliber player on the team and could very well see himself making an All-NBA team at the end of the year. Randle was named the Eastern Conference player of the week.

This team isn’t about star power or anything flashy – They’re about determined, gritty, team basketball. When asked about the Brooklyn Nets’ big 3 a few weeks ago, Reggie Bullock responded with “We’ve got a big 5”. Julius Randle interjected with “Big 15”.

This win streak has the whole city buzzing about the Knicks’ climb in the standings, but it could have further positive implications for the playoffs.

Losing to the Celtics and the Nets by just 2 points a few weeks ago has been somewhat of a recurring theme for NY this season. Every time they’ve played Brooklyn, it’s been neck-and-neck until the dying minutes of the game. Same thing with the Philadelphia 76ers, same thing with the Miami Heat. This team has gotten so excruciatingly close to knocking down some of the East’s best teams in games that were decided by a foul, a turnover, or just one pivotal play down the stretch.

While they haven’t beaten any of the league’s best on this win streak, they’ve defeated some solid competition. Most importantly – They’re closing out close games.

You can point to a few moments during the streak in games against the Grizzlies, Raptors, and Pelicans, where the team looked lost. It seemed like they were letting the game slip away and were about to lose. Yet every time, they persevered and made plays when it mattered most.

They’ve gotten clutch plays not just from their star player, but from RJ Barrett, Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, and Reggie Bullock. If the NY Knicks can continue to carry this strong play late in games into the remainder of the season and into the postseason, they could be a team that no one wants to face in round 1.

Sitting at 12th on NBA.com, 14th on ESPN, and 9th on CBS’s NBA power rankings, the NY Knicks are starting to get some respect. If this team can stay healthy and continue to execute late in games, they could make some noise in the playoffs.

Next. 5 Reasons Julius Randle Deserves MIP Award. dark