For years, the New York Knicks were the laughingstock of the league. To some NBA fans who don’t regularly watch the Knicks, they still are, even after beating Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
Jalen Brunson was harsh on himself after the team lost to Miami, but making it to that point in itself was a win for New York. Before the 2023 playoffs, it had been 10 years since the Knicks made it to the semifinals. The goal for this season should be to take it a step further, as it’s been almost 24 years since the team made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
New York bounced back from a disappointing 2021-22 finish that wasn’t good enough for a play-in appearance, and it was done without trading for a superstar. Julius Randle has been named an All-NBA/All-Star player in two of the past three seasons, while Brunson is a star, although he doesn’t have any All-Star appearances (yet).
After years of being mocked, the Knicks are in a good position. The roster doesn’t scream championship contender, but they’re a team contenders don’t want to meet in the playoffs. Better yet, they’re a team that superstars should want to play for, and former Warriors GM Bob Myers agrees.
Former Warriors GM Bob Myers praises New York Knicks for culture change
Bob Myers stepped down as Warriors GM and president in late May after playing a large role in Golden State’s four championships during his 12 years there. He’s now an NBA analyst for ESPN, and on a call on Monday discussing his new role, Myers gave his thoughts on New York’s regime.
"“I think what has shifted (recently is) … there was a time where I felt like people may not have wanted to play in (New York City). And I think that’s changed,” Myers said on Monday. “I think now you’re looking at murmurings, hearing things – ‘Hey, what about the Knicks?’ And the draft capital they have – it’s a realistic thing. It’s not some lay person saying, ‘Well, the Knicks should go get this guy!’ Now it’s viable, it’s possible.“And they have what it takes with first-round picks in their cabinet to go do it. They’ve got a lot of good young players on pretty affordable contracts. They’re just another team that you’re kind of waiting for the next big thing.”"
The most recent example that comes to mind of stars avoiding the Knicks happened in 2019 when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with the Nets. In retrospect, New York got lucky, but if that same saga had happened this past summer, it’d be hard to envision KD and Irving casting the Knicks to the side.
New York’s sights are set on a trade, not free agency, and someone like Joel Embiid, who may or may not be traded in the next year, should be giving serious thought to what it’d be like to play for the Knicks.
There are New York fans out there who are dissatisfied with the current regime, but as Myers said, the Knicks are in “a much better place” since Leon Rose, William Wesley, and Tom Thibodeau’s arrival. These Knicks aren’t the Knicks of the past. No, they’re better.