PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Immanuel Quickley
SF: Josh Hart
PF: Julius Randle
C: Isaiah Hartenstein
New York’s bench has been one of the team’s strengths for the past few years, and they’ll likely have one of the top reserve units again in 2023-24. In fact, they’ve often been talented enough to close games over a few starters.
If the Knicks find themselves in a shootout or two during the upcoming season, this should be the closing lineup Thibodeau sends out at the end of the fourth quarter.
Barring injury, both Brunson and Randle will likely be on the floor during clutch situations in every game.
As for the other three players, the name of the game is playing with speed and scoring in bunches. Josh Hart and Immanuel Quickley finished first and second on the Knicks in steals per game, respectively. Steals lead to fastbreak opportunities, which is where New York’s bench thrives.
Quickley’s pull-up shooting proficiency punishes defenses scrambling to pack the paint, while Hart’s coast-to-coast drives result in an endless stream of strong right-handed finishes.
Backup center Isaiah Hartenstein is an underrated outlet passer, helping the Knicks generate even more transition looks. He’s also a solid rim protector in his own right.
This unit had some experience playing together last year, and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
Among all the Knicks’ five-man lineup combinations used in 2022-23, the Brunson-Quickley-Hart-Randle-Hartenstein quintet had the fourth-highest net rating (minimum 48 minutes played). They also operated at a faster pace than all of the three units ranked ahead of them.