The NY Knicks just had their best season in almost a decade – and nobody saw it coming.
Tom Thibodeau proved he could still coach, RJ Barrett took the next step in his development and Julius Randle went from being run out of town to getting M-V-P chants in Madison Sqaure Garden. While the season didn’t end the way fans wanted it to, making the playoffs as the four seed was a tremendous accomplishment.
The groundwork has been laid – now, the real work starts.
The 2021 Knicks: The start of something greater
In every great sports story, it takes time for the hero to achieve their ultimate goal. Along the way, they learn lessons that assist them when the times come – think of this season as the beginning of that story for the Knicks.
Rocky Balboa didn’t win the title until Rocky 2. Dale Earnhardt suffered heartbreak after heartbreak in the Daytona 500 before finally winning his 20th attempt. Heck, it took years of playoff heartbreak to mold Michael Jordon into the greatest player of all time.
The Knicks were punching above their weight class this season – but the team’s heart and grit allowed them to do that. They simply ran into a team that was better equipped than them – the Atlanta Hawks spent millions upon millions overhauling their roster last off-season, while New York did the opposite.
NY Knicks Off-Season: Your move, Leon Rose
Now, it’s Leon Rose’s turn to use his capital to help his team take a leap. The Knicks are in a fantastic spot as they enter the off-season – multiple first round picks, money to spend, and a culture continuing to blossom.
It’s basically a given Randle will re-sign, but we could also see some of the league’s premier free agents turning their attention to The Mecca. Two-time NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, could opt-out of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers this off-season – he spoke highly of Randle after the NY’s victory at Staples in May.
"“That’s great,” Kawhi Leonard said, in response to Randle saying he drew a lot of inspiration from Leonard’s championship run with Toronto. “That’s what we here for. To inspire the guys that come in behind you . . .You could definitely tell how much he’s working.”"
The Knicks won’t be banking on the Clippers’ star to return to the Eastern Conference, but they would welcome him with open arms. This past season put New York’s premier franchise back on the map – not just for fans, but players alike.
“Who wouldn’t want to play for the Knicks ..”
Derrick Rose put it all in perspective after last night’s loss – “Who wouldn’t want to play for the Knicks or be in New York?” Less than a year ago, that answer would’ve been a lot different.
The 2021 New York Knicks brought the beloved franchise back from the doldrums. After last night’s game, Reggie Bullock tweeted “NY WE BACK….work hard this summer and WE BACK.”
When we look back on it, this season will be a chapter in a long book of success. While the 2021 Knicks didn’t hoist the Larry O’Brien or get a ticker-tape parade, their legacy will live on in the prominence of future Knicks’ teams.
You’re damn right Reggie – New York, the Knicks are back.