The number one defensive team. the New York Knicks couldn’t get the job done this postseason against the Atlanta Hawks. After being defeated 4-1 in the series, many fans were naturally and rightfully upset with the outcome. However, there were some fans who weren’t overly upset due to the different circumstances of both teams. Hawks possess major depth even with Cam Reddish’s injury woes, while the Knicks depth was affected by missing starting center Mitchell Robinson and starting point guard Elfrid Payton. Payton’s absence was more of a point guard void. Elfrid Payton’s playing style made him unplayable during the first round of the playoffs, similar to what the 76ers went through against the Hawks with Ben Simmons. Point guards must be able to stretch the floor in today’s playoffs. Knicks depth took a hit, therefore, Trae Young and the hungry Hawks kept coming.
Many say the regular season doesn’t count. However, it would be hard to dismiss whether or not the Knicks get a positive feeling when playing Atlanta due to regular season success against them over the past couple years, whether the Knicks are fully healthy or not fully healthy. Below is a clip of Mitchell Robinson having success against a less talented Atlanta team during the 2019-20 NBA season.
The Hawks are suboptimal at the sport of professional basketball. The creation and the prevention of points are both arduous tasks for Atlanta. They're down 77-53 at the half to the Knicks. Mitchell Robinson w/ the steal and dunk here. Dennis Smith Jr playing well. Morris w/ 15. pic.twitter.com/q3JZNG1VJK— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) December 18, 2019
Every team currently competing this postseason have point guards who are able to stretch the floor. Did the Knicks recently sign a point guard who can do the same in Luca Vildoza? Time will tell, however, the 25-year old rookie does look promising.
The Knicks have high upside due to their front office, market cap, and draft picks moving forward. The Knicks acquired a very solid international point guard without even touching their draft assets and barely tapping into their salary cap.
With the Knicks finishing the season fourth in the Eastern Conference, and the Philadelphia 76ers realizing Ben Simmons contract was a huge mistake, the Knicks seem to have the potential to be a top three team in the East in the not so distant future. The Knicks have two first round picks and the Hawks have only one. Are the 76ers willing to trade Simmons at a significantly lower price? Time will tell.
A couple of tweaks and depth strengthening to the Knicks roster could be all it takes to move from the fourth seed into the top three. The Brooklyn Nets are injury prone, plus they’re not getting younger. Will injuries continue to disrupt the goals of the Brooklyn Nets, NBA history suggests that it will. The Knicks are younger, and in due time they’ll have above average depth of young talented players who defend and score under 2020-21 Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau.
New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks Control Future of Eastern Conference.
Hawks and Knicks dominating the east for the next 5-7 years.— Kevin 🇨🇦🏀 (@KevinF3394) June 24, 2021
Everyone else in the conference is a ♟.
The Eastern Conference landscape definitely points to a prosperous future for both the Hawks and the Knicks. The 76ers, Nets, Bucks, and Knicks consist of the four best teams in the Eastern Conference. Hawks have an opportunity to become a top three team and so do the New York Knicks mainly due to salary cap flexibility and young depth. The Knicks have a large amount of salary cap space and draft capital. Knicks also have a savvy and competent front office in Leon Rose, Scott Perry, and World Wide Wes.