ESPN even agrees this is Knicks’ biggest strength entering 2022-23

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett, Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks, RJ Barrett, Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports /

Going into the 2022-23 NBA season, there is some optimism in New York for the Knicks. Coming off a disappointing 37-45 record last season, the Knicks finished six games behind the Charlotte Hornets to miss out on the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Looking to right the ship, Jalen Brunson was signed in the offseason, giving the Knicks a starting point guard they’ve needed for years. Alongside Brunson, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson both received multi-year extensions. Julius Randle is also signed through 2025-26, which gives the Knicks four pieces signed to long-term contracts to build around. The expectation in New York is to be competitive. Securing pieces will only help build chemistry and hopefully produce winning basketball.

In his annual NBA rankings tiers (subscription required), Zach Lowe is fair with his words and expectations of where the New York Knicks’ season could be heading.

In his column, they were placed in the “grasping at play-in home court disadvantage” category. The other Eastern Conference team to join them are the Chicago Bulls. The two Western Conference teams are the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.

Fighting for that nine-ten seed in the Eastern Conference is right around where expectations should be for this team. As of right now, the Bucks, Celtics, Sixers, Nets, Cavaliers, Hawks, Raptors, and Heat all seem like stronger teams. Unforeseen circumstances happen every season such as injuries, player leaps, and team overachievements, but we will have to wait and see about those.

Lowe points to depth as the New York Knicks’ biggest strength

One thing Lowe pointed out the Knicks do have entering the season is depth.

As mentioned before, the Knicks have Brunson, Barrett, Randle, and Robinson signed to long-term deals. Those four and Evan Fournier will most likely be the Knicks starting five to start the season. Fournier is signed through 2023-24 and has a club option entering the 2024-25 season.

After the starting five, the Knicks have eight guys they can realistically put into the game.

A second unit of:

G – Immanuel Quickley

G – Quentin Grimes

F – Cam Reddish (assuming he can figure things out)

F – Obi Toppin

C – Isaiah Hartenstein

Three additional players that could see minutes:

G- Derrick Rose

G- Miles McBride

C- Jericho Sims

Not a bad eight at all.

The progression of players like Quickley and Toppin were topics of discussion for why the Knicks should be improved this season.

It will be interesting to see how the Knicks use their depth. Quickley, Grimes, and Toppin did not play as much as some fans hoped last season. Grimes has the best chance to jump into the starting five taking the spot of Evan Fournier, but if the bench is productive and gaining chemistry, Grimes may be best suited to stay there.

All five of the projected second unit are 24 years or younger, are hungry for opportunities, and will play hard when they check into games. It will be a real luxury for the Knicks to have a deep bench, and it’s not just guys eating up minutes while the starters take a rest. If this group is clicking one night, Tom Thibodeau should give them a real shot to close a game.

Here were some encouraging quotes from Zach Lowe when talking about the Knicks:

  • “The Knicks are at least 10-deep in productive players, including several young guys on the come.”
  • “There is a top-down urgency to win after last year’s morass.”
  • “Thibodeau should have them back to the frenzied defense of two seasons ago.”

For the sake of a needed bounce-back season, I hope he nails these predictions.

The depth of New York is something to be encouraged about, and I’m excited to see more players hopefully get increased opportunities when the real games start.