Powered by Julius Randle's emergence as a superstar, the New York Knicks have put the league on notice in the 2020-21 season. The Eastern Conference club is currently on an incredible 8-game winning streak that has earned them the 4th seed, one spot behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Playing under coach Tom Thibodeau, the Knickerbockers have been transformed into a top-tier defensive unit. They are holding opposing teams to 104.7 points per game on average, leading all sides in that department.
3 New York Knicks players who are exceeding expectations in the 2020-21 NBA season
The New York Knicks are looking primed to end their long-standing playoff drought this year. They have proven their mettle as fierce competitors and could even pull off an upset in the upcoming postseason campaign.
In addition to Randle's exploits, the New York Knicks have exceeded all expectations this season with stellar performances by their role players. A few talented young guns have surprised everyone by giving their side a boost with significant improvements in their production from the floor matched with their impact on team morale.
In this piece, we will take a look at three players besides Julius Randle, who are making strides with the New York Knicks this season.
#1 RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett is arguably the most important player on the Knicks roster besides All-Star Julius Randle. The sophomore has taken a leap this season, solidifying his place as the second scoring option for Tom Thibodeau's side. Maple Mamba peaked in his scoring average last month, recording 20.2 points in 36.4 minutes per contest. Barrett has done a phenomenal job for the New York Knicks, registering 20+ points on 24 occasions this campaign, with a career-high 32 point outing against the Thunder that resulted in a win for the revitalized Eastern Conference club.
The 20-year-old continues to raise his ceiling, steadily improving his production from the floor compared to his rookie season. In an impressive 60 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign, Barrett is averaging 17.4 points on 44.6% shooting from the floor. In addition to his offensive repertoire, the 2nd year guard is adding 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest. It's safe to say that his stock in the NBA is on the rise and that the Knicks have a potential star in the making.
#2 Alec Burks
Alec Burks has bounced around the league over the past few years. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old has surprised everyone this campaign, delivering a breakout season with the New York Knicks. He has been instrumental in their resurgence with timely buckets off the bench. It's no secret the Knicks' Achilles heel is their offense. That is where someone like Burks comes in with his gifts on the offensive end of the hardwood.
Burks is averaging 12.6 points per game on 41.4% shooting from the field while clocking an impressive 40.8% accuracy from beyond the arc. He is one of the leading scorers for the Knicks this season. However, what has been more impressive is him delivering the goods in just 25.8 minutes per game. With the playoffs around the corner, the New York Knicks will look to the 10th year guard to help them tick the scoreboard in crucial games, especially when they are going through a rough stretch scoring-wise.
#3 Immanuel Quickley
Rookie sensation Immanuel Quickley is another player who has wowed crowds this season. The New York Knicks guard has not only made his place in Thibodeau's rotations but has proven his mettle as a talented young player with bright prospects. The 21-year-old is averaging 11.8 points on 39.1% shooting from the field and 38.7% marksmanship from the three-point line. However, his best shooting display comes from the free-throw line, where he's clocking at a rate of 89.2% in 55 appearances.
The first-year guard out of Kentucky delivered ten 20 points or more outings with a season-high score of 26 points against the San Antonio Spurs last month. Fast forward to April, and Quickley is coming off two impressive showings in the recent run. He tallied 17 points in their win over the Hornets and followed it up by adding 20 points in their previous matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.