A loss to the Suns’ on Friday extended the Knicks’ losing skid to seven games.
They have now lost eleven out of their last twelve games, and making the playoffs at this point seems like an impossible task.
So What is the Problem in New York?
The New York Knicks surprised the entire NBA last year, making the playoffs after a 21-45 season and previous years of similar struggles.
However, this year, they have taken a massive step back.
The Knicks are sat in 12th in the East, which is extremely disappointing considering their 4th place finish last year.
Coach Tom Thibodeau is more than in the hot seat now, and while he may not be the issue, something in New York is.
Randle is Not The Guy
The issue with the New York Knicks is that they do not have an MVP-caliber player that can hit clutch shots down the stretch. The NBA is a star-driven league and without one, you are in trouble.
Julius Randle was spectacular last season, but he hasn’t done anything to prove that he can recreate the same numbers year after year. R.J. Barrett has made a huge jump in his game this year, although he still has some work to do as well.
While credit needs to be given to Randle for the high level that he has played at since last year, he is simply not good enough to take the Knicks to glory.
As a second or third option, he could thrive, but the Knicks roster leaves him as the best player there.
He averages a team-high 19.7 points per game, which is just not high enough. Every team that has genuine aspirations to compete for an NBA championship requires having a star that can put up 25 a game.
You need a guy to consistently score down the stretch, especially when your defense is leaking, and Randle’s inconsistent shooting makes me think he’s one of the Knicks’ biggest issues right now.
The Knicks have not been able to close out games, and having someone to put the game to bed would alleviate that.
The team as a whole has regressed defensively as well, going from the fourth-best defense in the league, to the eighteenth-best.
For a squad that was built around stellar defense, thanks to Tom Thibodeau, it can be expected that performances will drop when the defense doesn’t live up to its standards.
Nerlens Noel hasn’t been the same force he was last year and has seen his blocks per game drop by one from last year. Julius Randle has also struggled massively on the defensive end, leaving Mitchell Robinson as the only consistent defender on the roster.
Overload of Guards
The Knicks also have too many mediocre guards.
Kemba has not lived up to what Knicks fans thought he would become, as he is just too streaky of a shooter and constantly gets injured.
Derrick Rose is another player that gets an inevitable injury every year, so it’s difficult for him to get back to full strength.
Evan Fournier does not score the basketball enough, given that doing so is his main job.
Immanuel Quickley has regressed from last year, not even averaging double-digit points.
Obi Toppin should receive more minutes in place of some of these guys. He is only playing 15.1 minutes per game currently, yet his player efficiency rating is fourth-best among Knicks players. He would give the Knicks size that they love having.
I would personally build this Knicks roster around the youth, being RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, and others. I would also look to trade Julius Randle, and get a superstar that can put the team on his shoulders down the stretch.
It’s currently not good enough in New York, and the fans deserve better.
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