- Gilad Azaharian
Hope for the Knicks
After ending last season with 45 losses in a Corona-shortened season and heading towards the lottery for seemingly the millionth time, many Knicks fans, (including myself) have given up hope for the organization. Yet, again, management had failed to put together a component roster, and didn’t even properly succeed at losing as many games as possible, as the Knicks ended up with an uninteresting pick at eight in this year’s draft. Against all odds, the Knicks have been fairly competitive this season. They currently sit at 14-16, and are one win out of the fourth seed in the conference. This surprising turnaround has many Knicks fans excited, but also slightly confused. Knicks’ general manager Scott Perry hadn’t made any serious improvements to the roster from last season. Sure, they drafted Obi Toppin and fan favorite Immanuel Quickley, but those guys weren’t supposed to impact winning so much, rather to be developmental pieces. I don’t think any NBA fan would consider Austin Rivers or Alec Burks franchise altering talents either. So what led to the dramatic turnaround in Knicks culture?
The simple answer to the question lies in one man, head coach Tom Thibodeau. Coach Thibs, as Knicks fans like to call him, single handedly change the culture around Knicks basketball. Bringing his staples of hard defense and excessively pushing his star players to the organization, Thibs has pushed the Knicks into the playoff picture. With a mix of young talent such as RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin and Quickley, along with vets Derrick Rose, Reggie Bullock, Elfrid Payton amongst others, lead by their All-Star Julius Randle, the Knicks have bought into Thibs system of playing hard defense, and been winning games. It will be a great joy to cheer them on in June as they could potentially face the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, and when they lose, at least we’ll still hold onto the hope that maybe a star will sign in free agency.