The New York Knicks have had difficulties closing out opponents approximately the last ten contests. Due to Mitchell Robinson’s injury, the Knicks are being out rebounded by a huge margin on some nights. Allowing offensive rebounds to the opponent gives them momentum and energy and this almost never bodes well for the Knicks down the stretch, especially since they don’t have a true closer. What could be the reason for the Knicks’ failures down the stretch in close games? Is it inferior and unsteady point guard play? Could it be a lack of closers on the roster? Or are the Knicks just going through growing pains while figuring out how to win close games?
Tough one. Back home on Friday. pic.twitter.com/cH61t5VT5m— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 8, 2021
This is the first time in a very long time the Knicks are actually in the playoff hunt. New York’s favorite team is currently the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and divisional play will be crucial for the rest of this regular season. There is a high possibility that the Knicks just plain and simple don’t know how to win yet. What better way to learn than to go through excruciating losses?
Tom Thibodeau is one of the best coaches to go through a rough patch with. Thibs is constantly teaching, amending, and reminding players of their duties in detailed fashion on both ends of the basketball court. Every close Knick loss can easily be counted as another learning experience moment under Tom Thibodeau.
Defense creates offense.— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 8, 2021
LET'S GO. pic.twitter.com/zz0LFBAmV2
New York Knicks are going through tough times with its young guys, however, fans shouldn’t count them out. Diamonds are made in ugly fashion and one example of that is RJ Barrett’s three point shooting as of late. Julius Randle is the engine of this Knicks’ roster and as long as defense is priority, everything else will eventually fall into place. Especially next season, once our anticipation of a real floor general comes to fruition.
RJ Barrett’s Impressive Three Point Shooting
RJ Barrett's first half:— KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) April 8, 2021
16 PTS, 5-6 FG, 3-3 3PT pic.twitter.com/DwnCZBOsSy
RJ Barrett’s emergence as a solid three point shooter has been something to watch despite Knick struggles. Even though the Knicks came away with another close loss in Boston, Barrett displayed clutch shooting from downtown. Some even felt the Duke product should’ve had even more opportunities due to his hot hand. RJ Barrett’s confidence has always been there. He’s now understanding the game more and getting even more comfortable in Thibs’ system. Barrett’s progress is extremely important to the Knicks’ future. The formerly known ‘Maple Mamba’ is emerging as one of the toughest Knick players to put on a jersey for New York. He is right there with some Knick players from the 1990s. He’s also being taught by a coach that was in the trenches during that era of golden Knicks basketball.
After shooting 6-6 3PT tonight, RJ Barrett is 61-133 (45.9%) from three over the Knicks last 40 games— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) April 8, 2021
Obi Toppin is Improving Slowly But Surely.
Obi Toppin just needs time. Yes, he’s an older rookie, which is what makes plenty of people nervous about the rocky start to his season. However, the 6’9” former Dayton “High”Flyer is also a late bloomer. The best is yet to come for this Brooklyn native. In the midst of the current Knick struggles, Toppin has given decent minutes to Thibs. If Obi Toppin continues his upward trajectory, expect Thibs to loosen the reigns a little.
Immanuel Quickley’s Slump Affects Knicks
In Immanuel Quickley's last 10 games not including tonight, he's shooting just 4-of-20 in the paint (Non-Restricted Area), which is floater range. The struggle continues tonight as he's missed at least 3 by my count.— Ariel (@APachecoNBA) March 1, 2021
It’s obvious when Immanuel Quickley struggles, the Knicks struggle. Thibs isn’t shy about pulling out Quickley when he has difficulties against certain matchups. Against Boston, Immanuel Quickley went head to head against Marcus Smart again, this time Smart got the best of the rookie. Count it as another learning moment for not only Quickley, but the Knicks as a whole in terms of struggling late in games. The former Kentucky Wildcat is a student of the game. Therefore, he’ll only benefit from these current growing pains.
Julius Randle Will Benefit From Current Team Struggles Under Thibs.
Julius Randle is the engine of this current Knick roster. Tom Thibodeau is the perfect coach to go through these kind of mental struggles with as a team. Randle is an example of a diamond being formed. Tom Thibodeau has taken Julius under his wing from the beginning, even when many fans thought it wouldn’t work out. The Knicks are still building for the future, it’s definitely not playoffs or bust like many of us fans are sadly use too. There is a difference, a huge difference! Knicks, Thibs, and Randle will keep grinding to the finish line in a tough unpredictable Eastern Conference.