The Knicks Season Breakdown


Benjamin Amstislavskiy

It’s halfway through December, and the Knicks are sitting at an unimpressive 12-16 after a blistering 5-1 start. So what happened? What shone through these near 30 games, and what hasn’t been working out. Let’s address the bad first, shall we?

The Kemba Walker Experiment

Getting Walker for under 10 million a year and bringing back to his home state New York seemed like a great idea for an experiment, but it never worked out. Walker could get hot, but he played terrible defense and didn’t facilitate as much as he should. The Knicks have a plus minus of -14 per 100 whenever Walker is on the floor. In short, Walker wasn’t working out, and his removal from the rotation makes sense.

Knicks Starters and Hero Ball

The Knicks starting five (Walker, Fournier, Barrett, Randle, Robinson) don’t work too well together as a unit. Walker can’t play defense to save his life, Fournier hasn’t been hitting shots, the only thing we paid him to do, Barrett and Randle have been inconsistent at best, and Robinson has been acting like a baby on Instagram while posting a worse statistical season than last year so far. The team doesn’t seem to put too much hustle into their play, and it’s angered fans and coaching alike. What’s more, the Knicks starting lineup has a lot of players who can make shots, and we see a lot of hero ball. Each player can take the ball in their zones of comfort and try to work their way into a bucket, but all five players can’t do that. It leads to an offense that plays streaky and can hop out to a 15 point lead just as easily as they can lose a 20 point one

That being said, there are some positives to the season, and if the starters can figure things out, the Knicks can pull things together


Tom Thibodeau, to his credit, has been working with the hand that he was dealt. He says the quiet part out yelling, yelling at player to wake up on defense and making rotational changes, swapping starters and benching Walker

Bench Cohesion

 The Bench has been playing really well. A lack of hero ball players, fun to watch personalities, and a mix of younger players and veterans has made the bench one of the best in the league. In the minds of many of the fans, the bench unit has been playing better than the starters in terms of entertainment and statistics

Young Guns

The younger players have been showing great promise this season. Quickley has produced some great play off the bench, Toppin has been a highlight reel and a very entertaining player to watch, McBride hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself yet but has great passing lane awareness and defensive intelligence, Grimes had an incredible game a couple of days ago, but we’ll need to wait until he gets out of COVID protocols to see how he will continue, Barrett has been lazy on defense but has had the highest peaks of his career, namely in his 35 point game against the Pelicans, and Robinson has been okay, the least impressive of the younger players compared to their previous selves. 

The Knicks have made for some polarizing basketball. Sometimes, they are extremely fun to watch, but other times, you wanna yell at the screen and turn the game off. It’s important to note two things going into the rest of the season though: we aren’t chasing the 4 seed again, just looking to avoid the play-in, and secondly, our record now is a similar record to the one we had last year, and we finished 10 games above .500. There is a lot of basketball to be played, and a lot of time for the Knicks to work out their problems and get back into playoff form again.