5 Reasons the Knicks Can Make the Playoffs


Most people will tell you that it’s too early in the season to start thinking about next April. But after enduring two awful seasons, Knicks fans like myself are understandably excited that their team is showing a competitiveness that has been sorely lacking. And fun. Man this team is fun. Check this out.

But enjoyment aside, another thing that has been crawling through the corners of many New Yorkers’ minds is that maybe, just maybe, this side could put together enough wins to make the playoffs. Coming from 17 wins it seems ridiculous but this Knicks team could well find themselves in postseason play. Here’s five reasons why.

No Reason To Lose

Last season there was the possibility of a draft pick as the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. At the end of this season? Well, after swapping picks with Denver, the Knicks give their first round pick to Toronto in exchange for the right to remember that Andrea Bargnani is not good at basketball.[1]

So unlike last year, no one is getting shut down in January to rest. You’re not going to see a bunch of D-League players running around in Knicks jerseys come March. This team is going to be going for each win they can.

Melo is getting his legs back

On the specific basketball front, the Knicks have notably struggled in fourth quarters this season. In their three recent losses to the Spurs, Cavs and Bucks, the Knicks failed to crack twenty points in the last quarter. This has a lot of causes, but an important one is that Carmelo is still building match fitness after spending a large swathe of last season and the offseason rehabilitating his injured knee. It will take time before Melo is as effective in the fourth as he is in the first, but his history suggests once he gets he hops back he will return to being one of the most clutch players in the league.

Kristaps is better than expected

It’s hard not to get excited about Porzingis, especially when he does stuff like this:

For someone who was meant to be a three-to-four year project, Porzingis has been amazingly effective right out of the gate. His defence has been often excellent, despite some difficulties on rotations and getting caught out by speedy guards. On offence he has shown a sweet stroke, and improving ball skills. His Player Efficiency Rating is already 20, which is the best in the league for a rookie, and only behind the bench stars Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn on the Knicks. [2] He is already averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds a game, along with a block and a steal. He’s only shooting 40 per cent from the field and 21 per cent from three. That will go up, and along with his improving defence, will mean the Knicks win more games.

The guards are getting better

If there is one thing Knicks’ teams have struggled with in recent years it’s getting to the rack. Last year’s side ranked last in the league points in the paint, and with Jose Calderon and Vujacic manning the guard spots in the starting side, a similar problem has faced the starting group this year.

But no fear, Jerian Grant and Langston Galloway are both increasing their minutes, in general and with the starting unit. Both players are comfortable in the pick and roll, and excel at penetrating. This creates far more space for shooters like Melo and Porzingis to operate in, and means that Melo doesn’t have to work so hard for his points in the first three quarters of the game.

But not just that, Galloway and Grant and substantially ahead of Calderon and Vujacic when it comes to keeping their opposing guards out of the paint. More time for Grant and Galloway seems inevitable, something even Coach Fisher, seeming reluctant to rely on them, is starting to consider.

This, and the impending return of Aaron Afflalo only means the play of the Knick’s guards will improve.


In case you forget, the Knicks are playing in the East. With only five or six playoff positions seemingly locked up at this stage, the door is open for the Knicks to work their way into the back end of the playoffs.

Not that they’ll win. But hey, next year right?

[1] On a side note, the Knicks have traded away their 2nd round pick through 2021! That’s amazing!

[2] Which is a smidge more than Melo (19.78). http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/1975/carmelo-anthony

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