Can the New York Knicks make the NBA Playoffs this season?
When the Knicks traded for Rose and signed Joakim Noah at the beginning of the season, fans thought this is a scary team. Even Rose went as far as saying that the Knicks are a superteam, just like the Warriors are on the West side. However, almost two months into the season and they are scrapping for a playoff spot. Truth be told, they are playing 0.500 basketball at the moment, and they are on pace for getting to the playoffs. But is it that simple? Is the East weak? Or are the Knicks are good? And Can the New York Knicks make the NBA playoffs this season? Let’s determine.
Can the Knicks win without defense?
Knicks vs Bulls 2016 Highlights – Can the New York Knicks make the NBA Playoffs
The Knicks are atrocious on the defensive end. Joakim Noah was brought in to change that, and improve their play on the defensive end, but that hasn’t happened. The Knicks are in the bottom 5 of defensive rating, allowing more than 110 points per 100 possessions. That is not something you want if the playoffs are your goal. But somehow, the Knicks are winning games despite playing awful defense. They cannot stop anybody from scoring, but they can also score against any team.
The New York Knicks score almost 108 points per 100 possessions, which means they have a negative rating. Be as it is, can the Knicks make the playoffs will be easier to answer positively once they start defending. They are getting 45 rebounds per game as a team, which puts them in the top 5 rebounding teams. But is that a result of their constant misses? They are in the top 10 in offensive rebounding as well, which means a huge portion of those rebounds is offensive.
New York Knicks Roster Changes
Knicks vs Lakers 2016 Highlights – Can the New York Knicks make the NBA Playoffs
The Knicks made some bold changes to their roster this offseason. They traded for Derrick Rose, signed Courtney Lee, signed Joakim Noah, and signed Brandon Jennings. On top of all that, they got Jeff Hornacek to be their coach. So, as you might expect, they wanted to see results. When you sign a former MVP player, good things should happen. So far, Derrick Rose has had a solid impact on the Knicks. He is their third leading scorer, providing Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis relief when they sit. And he is a good playmaker, averaging more than four assists per game. But he is far from his MVP form. And the Knicks need more than four assists from him. Courtney Lee has done what is expected of him, and that is to shoot threes and make them. Since he is open most of the time, a result from the Knicks having Melo, Rose and Porzingis on the team, Lee is shooting with 48% accuracy from behind the arc. Yes, he is taking just three 3s per game, but that can be changed. Brandon Jennings might be the steal for the Knicks, as he has provided the bench unit with some steady and reliable play, and most importantly, points.
New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics 2016 Highlights – Can the New York Knicks make the NBA Playoffs
After Toronto and Cleveland, everything is wide open in the Eastern Conference. So, can the Knicks make the playoffs is easier to call? They can certainly make the playoffs. There will probably be one or two teams in the East with a losing record in the playoffs. And that increases the Knicks chances of making the playoffs. However, as for the competition, here are some of the teams that will battle with the Knicks.
The Chicago Bulls were a dark horse candidate before the season began. They signed Rondo and Wade, and people thought they would have chemistry issues. But so far, the Bulls look more than solid, and despite lacking a good three point shooter from the main players, the Bulls are winning and scoring efficiently.
The Boston Celtics are another team that will compete with the Knicks for a higher seed in the East until the end of the season. On paper, the Celtics are a complete team. They have two good players at every position, and they have an All-Star in Isaiah Thomas. They also signed Al Horford, giving them another great player. But they lacking a good defensive center, and they have been killed on the boards.
The Atlanta Hawks are also in the mix. They lost Horford and Teague, but they managed to get Dwight Howard. So far, it works well. Howard has been very team-oriented, playing defense and grabbing lots of rebounds. And unlike his stints in Houston and Los Angeles, he does not demand 15+ touches per game.
The Detroit Pistons, the Indiana Pacers, the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, and Orlando Magic round up the contenders for a playoff spot in the East for this season. How the seeding will be, we will find out at the end of the season. But one thing is sure. Can the Knicks make the playoffs is easy to answer as Yes? They are one of eight teams competing for six spots.
How high can the New York Knicks go?
Knicks vs Cavaliers 2016 Highlights
The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs three seasons in a row. Now, the question is can the Knicks make the playoffs. But even more importantly, how high can they go? The appetite in New York is that the Knicks can go deep into the playoffs. And to do that, they will need a seeding that will help them avoid teams like Toronto and Cleveland in the first round.
Judging on potential, the Knicks can get as high as a 3rd spot in the East. However, the realistic place will be that they fall to the fourth, fifth, or the sixth seed. After all, you cannot expect the Knicks to be 3rd spot without playing defense. Eventually, they will have off shooting nights, and on those nights, they won’t be competitive.
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Madison Square Garden Image source.