It was only a year ago when there were debates about whether or not the New York Knicks would make it to the play-in tournament in 2023. The Knicks exceeded every outsider’s expectation and finished with the fifth-best record in the East, and made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
New York has only slightly altered the roster this summer by signing Donte DiVincenzo in free agency and trading Obi Toppin. Unless there’s a major change between now and the start of the 2023-24 season, the roster will remain relatively the same.
Barring good health, the Knicks should be able to secure another playoff berth in 2024 behind stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. RJ Barrett came alive in the playoffs and has been continuing his strong play this summer with Team Canada, and it would be major for New York if he could get into a consistent groove this season.
The Knicks have been labeled as a star trade away from being true contenders, but ESPN’s Bobby Marks believes New York is already at that level.
ESPN NBA insider Bobby Marks picks Knicks as early favorite to win Eastern Conference Finals
ESPN released a roundtable discussion regarding the newly revealed 2023-24 schedule, with one of the questions being, ‘Which regular-season game is an early NBA Finals matchup?’ Bobby Marks had the boldest response by far.
"Marks: Phoenix at New York (Nov. 26). Star power versus roster continuity. Yes, I have penciled in both teams as my early favorites to represent each conference in June. The styles in how the two rosters were built are totally opposite. The high-spending Suns went all-in with the Kevin Durant trade in February and then added Bradley Beal in June. The Knicks, on the other hand, have taken a more conservative approach, returning 13 players that lost to Miami in the second-round while adding only Donte DiVincenzo in free agency."
What a turn of events it’d be for the Knicks to square off against the Suns in the NBA Finals five years after Kevin Durant was expected to sign with New York in free agency.
The other four answers featured Nuggets at Celtics on Jan. 19, Nuggets at Bucks on Jan. 29, Bucks at Suns on Feb. 6, and Nuggets at Celtics on Jan. 19. The Knicks are the only Eastern Conference team besides the Bucks and Celtics that were mentioned.
The NBA world wasn’t ready for New York to be one of the top five teams in the East last season, so imagine what it’d be like for the Knicks to not only make it to the Eastern Conference Finals but advance to the NBA Finals. Now, imagine the scene in New York City if the Knicks won their first championship since 1973. That’s a thought that gives every fan chills.
Bobby Marks’ prediction playing out would be a dream come true. Keep your fingers crossed, Knicks fans.