After starting the season rather poorly, the Knicks came back with a renewed energy post the NBA All-Star break and now have a chance of ending their playoff drought, which dates back to 2013.
5 reasons behind the New York Knicks' new-found form
Here are five reasons behind the New York Knicks' resurgent form over the past month or so.
#1 - Julius Randle's magic
Julius Randle has been extremely impactful for the New York Knicks in recent games. The power forward is putting in work on both offense and defense.
He has a decent shooting percentage from beyond the arc, consistently knocks down mid-range jumpers, and is not afraid to attack the rim.
The New York Knicks' offense flows through Randle as he averages 22.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and six assists per game. He is shooting 46.4 percent from the field and an impressive 40.9 percent from 3-point range.
#2 - Rock-solid defense
Coach Tom Thibodeau is well-known for his defensive set-up and his defensive prowess has been an integral part of the New York Knicks' new identity under the veteran.
One standout defensive juggernaut for the Knicks is Noel Nerlens, who leads the NBA in defensive box plus-minus. The deal for his acquisition was an absolute steal, as he had not reached his full potential at the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Noel's presence in the lineup has helped the New York Knicks keep opponents at bay at the rim. The Knicks have held opponents to a field goal percentage of just 60.2 in the paint, the second-lowest in the 2020-21 NBA season.
The Knicks also have the third-best defensive unit in the NBA so far, behind the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers.
#3 - Renewed belief in RJ Barrett
The New York Knicks have had a habit of being impatient with their first-round picks. The last time the Knicks re-signed a first-round draft pick after their rookie contract was back in 1994.
RJ Barrett, who was the Knicks' first-round pick in the 2019-2020 season, is in his second season with the team. After a subpar rookie season, the young guard has finally found his footing in the NBA, averaging 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and three assists per game.
Barrett is the team's second-leading scorer behind Julius Randle.
#4 - The right mix of veterans and young players
The importance of having experienced players on the court cannot be overemphasized. The acquisition of veteran point guard Derrick Rose has contributed to a change in the team's dynamic for the New York Knicks.
In just over 25 minutes off the bench, the former league MVP is averaging almost 13 points, four rebounds and one steal per game this season. Rose's presence on the court has been of great help to young players like Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, who have improved tremendously over the course of the season.
#5 - Improved Chemistry
The Knicks seem to be working like a well-oiled machine. Every player on the team understands their role and plays their hearts out every night on the court.
The New York Knicks may not be among the best offensive teams in the NBA, but their transition from offense to defense is noteworthy. Every player seems to be on the same page about what needs to be done and is working tirelessly to achieve it.