Fanbases across the nation as well as all over the world have many questions regarding their favorite teams’ during the offseason, including New York Knick fanatics. Knicks President Leon Rose and company quietly turned the Knicks organization into a winning culture. New York’s favorite team is home to a roster filled with relentless gym rats who’d run through a wall for Head Coach Tom Thibodeau. RJ Barrett and Julius Randle have mutual respect and their work ethic is leading the way for others within the roster. With all that being said, there are still questions circulating regarding the Knicks offseason and how things may or may not work itself out during the 2021-22 NBA Regular Season.
Julius Randle on RJ Barrett: “What I’ve seen so far from him this offseason is he just keeps improving. You can tell the guys who really love the game & really dedicate themselves to their craft; he's one of them."— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 16, 2021
Randle on NYK, Mobil 1 and more here: https://t.co/8pm2yWLVf0 pic.twitter.com/HUdqd4v3EB
First Question: Will Kemba Walker & Evan Fournier Bring Their Offensive Chemistry From Boston to New York?
Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker have proven to be a very compatible back court on the offensive end of the floor. Those two helped Boston’s offensive rating on more than one occasion. Kemba and Fournier backcourt will translate into New York eventually. All the Knicks need is training camp alongside their excellent coaching staff and Tom Thibodeau’s practices plus film sessions.
Second Question: Where Will the New York Knicks Potentially Stand in the Eastern Conference this Upcoming 2021-22 NBA Season?
Third seed is possible for the Knicks however, all eyes will be on the Philadelphia 76ers situation regarding Ben Simmons trade rumors. Joel Embiid is no stranger to concerns about his knees as well. The 76ers are definitely a wild card for the Knicks to take their third seed position. The Atlanta Hawks could move their way up into third seed as well under Head Coach Nate McMillan. It will be extremely interesting how things pan out next season in the shuffling of the NBA Eastern Conference Standings.
Third Question: Could Knicks Perimeter Defense Regress Due to Personnel?
Bullock is a slightly better three point shooter than Fournier. But Fournier’s overall offense is a huge upgrade, even his playmaking. https://t.co/lxG6GCeS6y— Mikey Murphy ✍🏿 (@Mikey441) September 17, 2021
Reggie Bullock is a known excellent perimeter defender who contributed to the Knicks being the number one team in opposing three point shooting percentage. Some fans believe Bullock’s defense is overrated. Evan Fournier isn’t Bullock when it comes to perimeter defense, however, Fournier understands the nuances of defending the three-point shot, especially after stints with Orlando Magic during their solid defensive seasons under Head Coach Steve Clifford, who worked alongside Tom Thibodeau under Jeff Van Gundy during the 2000-01 Knicks season.
Fourth Question: Could Improvement From Obi Toppin & Immanuel Quickley Catapult the Knicks Into the Top Tier?
Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley are working hard this offseason. Their summer league stint was solid alongside other Knick rookies in Jericho Sims, Miles McBride, and sharpshooting Quentin Grimes. Toppin is looking to take a step forward in order to take pressure off of Julius Randle, and Immanuel Quickley is continuing to soak in all the nuances of point-guard responsibilities under Tom Thibodeau. Toppin and Quickley’s chemistry is improving. The Knicks will need their two 2020 first round pick’s to take pressure off of Randle. Knicks depth will be crucial in order for them to move into the top tier. Toppin and Quickley are two significant pieces on the second unit that’ll help determine wether or not the Knicks will overachieve once again.
Fifth Question: What Will be the Knicks Record at the End of Next Season?
There is belief about the Knicks having an upward win total of 50-games next season due to Tom Thibodeau’s ability to get the most out of his players. During a recent streaming by KnicksFanTV on September 16th featuring JD and CK, JD of JDSportsTalkNY brought up a valid point regarding the Knicks possibly finishing next season with over 50-wins. JD stated the following:
I’m going with what I believe is the ceiling. You put all the factors into play and you come to a determination of what you think the team will produce. I’m just going with what I think is the ceiling, I’m going with Coach of the year, I’m not thinking about the playoffs because obviously if we get influenced by the playoffs then Randle stinks, right? Randle didn’t do any better— if we go by that then I think my floor with the Knicks would be lower. I’m going with coach of the year and I’m basing it on the fact that when I look at the competition, I look at the 76ers, even with Simmons or without, Embiid gets one injury, which I don’t wish injury on anybody, but when we talk about questions, everybody wants to talk about the Knicks questions, guess what, these other teams have questions too. There’re not made up questions, there’re real legitimate questions. Embiid being healthy for a 82-game season is a real legitimate question, it hasn’t happened. If that (Embiid getting injured) happens to that Sixers team, then what happens. But, say Kemba gets hurt, this Knicks team has depth. I mean we’re over here talking about the rookies, how are we going to find a way for the rookies to get playing time, let alone if Kemba gets hurt we have Rose to backup. If Mitch gets hurt, we have Noel to backup. This Knicks team I think is well equipped to handle different circumstances that will materialize during the season, they may be best equipped to handle that than some of these top-heavy teams that rely so much on a “Jimmy Butler” on a “Joel Embiid” you know what I mean? In terms of a long stretch of a 82-game season things happen and I think the Knicks can steal a few more wins and contend for the third seed.
Overall, there are questions surrounding every team of course, and the Knicks have plenty more questions than just five, however, this is a young hungry team full of gym rats, and year by year improvement should be no surprise due to the culture implemented by Leon Rose, Tom Thibodeau and others.