Hype is Real: Young stars ready to lead Knicks

Published October 5, 2022, 1:00 PMLei Macaranas

We’ll see the rising stars of the New York Knicks steal the show this season. 

Overview of their 2021-2022 season

The 2021-2022 NBA season was filled with lackluster play from the New York Knicks. They had numerous notable player acquisitions in the offseason prior but the franchise was unable to capitalize on their roster. Although we are unable to pinpoint the precise cause of their underperformance, Julius Randle's decline and the absence of their finest point guard Derrick Rose may be contributing factors. Kemba Walker was also expected to improve the team's standings, but due to the incompatibility of his playing style with the team, he was unable to live up to the expectations.

Despite the disappointing 37-45 record finish, New York still has a bright future ahead, especially if they make good use of their promising young picks. The fans can look at the bigger picture and see that the Knicks’ upcoming season is a learning curve that can be converted into experience for the years to come. 

What’s new this season?

It would’ve been a big upgrade for the Knicks if they were able to land All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell. Although they were unable to get the superstar, they can still find comfort in securing Jalen Brunson, a young reliable guard from the Dallas Mavericks. He’s an extremely talented player that can put up the needed shots when Randle and Rose get locked into opponents’ defense. Brunson signed a winner four-year $105-millon free agent deal and he gets to enjoy his stay with the Knicks after his father Rick Brunson accepted an assistant coaching position in the franchise.

What’s new this season is that the Knicks’ frontcourt improved from last year. RJ Barrett has been showing off his strength and getting more aggressive in attacking the rim, with his free throw attempts increasing from an average of 3.8 to 5.8. Evidently, he’s not the prime shotmaker but his role has expanded since, as his decision-making in plays has been maturing. 

Rising potential 

With Randle finding it difficult to replicate his stats in the 2020-2021 season, Barrett has taken the heavy load on offense and he’s getting a lot of help from the younger Knicks. Obi Toppin played valuable minutes to replace Randle and his athleticism and dunking ability are seen as a threat that can enhance the offensive openings for New York. Other than Toppin, we also see Quentin Grimes making a name for himself by being a solid fitting piece for his team. He’s been consistent in the rainbow area and has been able to show up in the defensive department. 

Sneaky fun guy 

In the plethora of young talents in the New York line-up, we are also excited to see how the second-year center Jericho Sims will contribute on the court. As Nerlens Noel missed out on the season because of knee and foot issues, Sims was given the limelight to sub in for starter Mitchell Robinson. Sims is a top-notch rebounder who can easily take advantage of his footwork and size against his counterparts. 

Given his raw talent, and his obvious chemistry with his teammates, Sims can go very far in his development in the NBA. He can definitely play a bigger role this season if he would be given more playing time. 

Vibe check 

While Randle continues to struggle in finding footing on the court, Barrett has proven himself as the cornerstone of the Knicks. Working around him are young players with much potential who have the talent and the athleticism to showcase stronger attacks to the basket. 

The Knicks can witness a vast improvement in standings this season, especially if they can build the confidence of their neophytes and if they can pull together their individual playing styles.