New York Knicks: 42 Reasons Why I’m Not Too Upset

NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2020-21 New York Knicks are finished. It didn’t end well, but the year was inarguably a success, leaving fans with so much to look back on with fondness and pride. If the pain is too fresh for you, let me help with 42 reasons – one for each win – why I’m already over whatever happened that ended their season that I’ve already forgotten:

  1. They went 41-31.
  2. I repeat: a team that finished 21-45 last season won 41 games
  3. They led the league in Opponents’ PPG.
  4. They led the league in Opponents’ FG%.
  5. They led the league in Opponents’ 3P%.
  6. All that elite defense despite the fact that their best defender, Mitchell Robinson, played in only 31 games.
  7. Everybody from Julius Randle to Theo Pinson bought into what Tom Thibodeau was selling and played hard every single night.
  8. Even in games where they couldn’t hit a shot, the effort never waned. When’s the last time we were able to say that?
  9. Julius Randle proved that miracles do happen. Most hated man in NY to MVP chants in less than a calendar year.
  10. Julius Randle’s 2020-21 resume: All-Star, Most Improved Player, All-NBA (if voters vote without bias). Best year from a Knick since…?
  11. Julius Randle’s numbers were historic, and now he’s on a list with Wilt and Larry Legend.
  12. Julius Randle has plenty of room to improve and the work ethic and mindset (responds well to failure) to do it.
  13. Julius Randle will be a much better basketball player come October.
  14. The Knicks were 3rd in the league in 3P%, despite having few reputed shooters. Which means two things:
  15. Thibs & Co. created the open looks/corner threes promised in introductory press conferences, and
  16. The developmental staff is comprised of sorcerers.
  17. Randle: 27.7% from 3 last season to 41.1% this season.
  18. Bullock (41%) and Burks (41.5%) with their best 3PT shooting in years.
  19. Knox (39%) and Ntilikina (47%) became threats opponents had to respect (situationally, of course).
  20. RJ Barrett: 32% last season to 40.1% this season.
  21. RJ Barrett got better in every conceivable way.
  22. RJ Barrett proved A) that his doubters were very wrong, B) that he’s much better than Tyler Herro and Terence effing Davis, and C) that both his floor and ceiling are pretty damn high.
  23. RJ Barrett is only 20.
  24. RJ Barrett is clutch. Right, Ja?
  25. The comeback vs. New Orleans.
  26. The road win vs. the Clippers.
  27. The Milwaukee Blowout.
  28. The Boston Massacre (with Immanuel Quickley floating them into oblivion).
  29. Immanuel Quickley shoots 30-foot bombs.
  30. Immanuel Quickley is fearless.
  31. Immanuel Quickley knows how to draw fouls. (Maybe next year he’ll get calls that other guys get.)
  32. Mitchell Robinson will be back.
  33. His replacement, Nerlens Noel, blocked lots of dunks.
  34. Norvel Pelle dislocated his finger, stayed in the game, and proceeded to block multiple shots at the rim.
  35. Obi Toppin caught lots of bangers.
  36. Obi Toppin got better every month and played some of his best basketball during that thing that happened that I’ve already forgotten about.
  37. Derrick Rose made everyone forget about that first stint in NY.
  38. Derrick Rose showed that this team can be elite with consistently competent point guard play (24-11 in games in which Rose played).
  39. Theo Pinson is awesome.
  40. “I’m not happy unless I’m miserable.”
  41. The Summer of Leon: Luca Vildoza, four draft picks, untold millions in cap space, and a second year together for the best new FO in basketball.
  42. “You either win or you learn” – the Knicks won plenty over the first 72 and did some serious learning at the end.

Or so I’ve heard. It’s already been erased from my memory bank. Too much good to look back on.

And to look forward to.

Next. 2 Trades that bring Damian Lillard to NY. dark