Identity crisis describes the New York Knicks this season. With an oft-injured Kemba Walker being shut down for the season and Derrick Rose who may also follow the same fate due to an ankle infection, the Knicks have struggled to close out games this season. Late game execution has been porous as a whole. The Knicks’ playbook late in games have been somewhat predictable for opposing defenses. This year Tom Thibodeau is having a difficult time without an extended version of himself on the court in Derrick Rose. The Knicks have been struggling with identity most of the season, more so offensively. Defensively, the Knicks have been solid. Many questions have been surfacing from the Knicks fan base as the 2022 NBA Offseason approaches. One popular question involves a decision from the front office regarding Thibodeau’s coaching job.
Offseason Reality For the Knicks.
This offseason the Knicks have a reality to face in terms of the contracts of Julius Randle and Evan Fournier. The Knicks starting shooting guard, Fournier’s contract carries over into the 2023/2024 season along with a team option for the 2024/2025 NBA Season. Julius Randle’s contract carries over into the 2024/2025 season with a player option for the 2025/2026 NBA Season. Joakim Noah’s $6,431,666 contract rolls off the books after the end of this season. Kemba Walker has another year left on his deal ending after the 2022/2023 NBA Season. According to Ian Begley, Mitchell Robinson and the Knicks aren’t very close in negotiations as he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Robinson has shown displeasure on social media about lack of touches offensively.
Disappointment & Losses Piled Up.
Frustration piled up for the Knicks especially during a stretch when they lost back to back winnable road games at Memphis and Brooklyn, March 11th and March 13th respectively. During the March 13th loss at the Barclays Center, the Knicks struggled with late game execution due to costly turnovers. Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant scored 53-points to close out the Knicks, the same day Tom Brady announced he’s coming out of retirement.
In a lost season, New York Knicks’ fans got tired of seeing veterans logging extensive minutes just to burn out and lose meaningless games in terms of playoff standings whilst the youth stifle on the bench missing priceless in-game opportunities to improve.
An injured Julius Randle paved the way for more Obi Toppin minutes. Tom Thibodeau leaned toward the bench during the recent road victory against the Miami Heat. A game where the Heat was up by seventeen points and relaxed. The Young Knicks felt disrespected by Miami’s “this game is sealed” demeanor and played aggressively on both ends led by Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride, Jericho Sims, Quentin Grimes, and Obi Toppin. The kids stepped up and wiped away a big lead, forcing Thibodeau to leave them in the game, which eventually led to a very inspiring victory against the number one team in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are a very deep basketball team, however the legit question is whether or not if the Knicks are currently too deep.
Knicks Improve On Closing Out Games.
The Knicks have recently improved their ability to close out games amidst the struggles and visual disengagement from Julius Randle. The Knickerbockers recently had a four game winning streak as they look to keep any kind of hope alive for a long-shot play-in tournament. The Knicks bench is being relied upon and its already paying off in their limited live game action time together.
Overall Big Picture.
Overall, this upcoming offseason will be important for the Knicks. New York has a lottery pick coming to them as well, therefore, Leon Rose, Scott Perry and the rest of the front office have tough decisions to make in order to fine tune a very talented young roster with a couple bad contracts in the mix.