On July 31st, the NBA is coming back to finish the season. However, the Knicks will not be coming back. New York will not be among the 22 teams playing in Orlando, ending their season with a record of 21-45. Sadly, for the seventh consecutive season, the New York Knicks miss the playoffs. I will be breaking down the good, the bad and the ugly of the Knicks’ season. Let’s begin with the good.
A Star is Born
In the 2019-2020 season, Mitchell Robinson burst on to the scene as a defensive stopper. Clearly, he is the Knicks’ defensive player of the year. Robinson led the team with two blocks per game, despite only playing 23 minutes per game. This mark left Robinson tied with Rudy Gobert for 6th in the NBA in blocks, prior to the league shutdown. Incredibly, Robinson’s numbers become even more impressive when looking at more advanced stats. Robinson blocked approximately 8% of opponents’ two point shots, second best in the NBA.
Surprisingly, Robinson was perhaps even more effective on the offensive end. Incredibly, Robinson held a .742 field goal percentage, prior to the league shut down. This rate would eclipse the legendary Wilt Chamberlain‘s record of .727 set in 1973. Again, looking at advanced stats, Robinson’s season stands out as truly remarkable. Robinson led the league with an offensive rating of 144. Additionally, he led the Knicks in defensive rating with 107. Finally, Robinson led the Knicks in Player Efficiency Rating, at 23.5, good enough for 16th in the NBA.
Performance of the Year
On February 3rd, the Knicks pulled out an overtime win over the Cavs in Cleveland. However, it was Elfrid Payton who stole the spotlight. Payton secured the Knicks’ only triple double for the season, with 17 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds. Impressively, Payton became only the fourth Knick ever to record 15 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in a game. For Payton, this triple double was the 17th of his young career.
As a team, the Knicks hit a season-high 57 field goals that night. Current Clipper Marcus Morris Sr. led New York with 26 points, on 8-for-15 shooting. Six Knicks scored in double digits, and they dished out a season-high 33 team assists. The win was the second of four consecutive, which was the Knicks’ longest winning streak of the season.
Although the 2019-2020 season ended in disappointment for New York, there were glimpses of promise for the future. Well before stepping on the court for an NBA game, the hype had built around RJ Barrett. The 19 year-old former Duke standout made an early impression with the Knicks. In only his second career game, Barrett posted six steals against the crosstown rival Nets. Two games later, against the Bulls, Barrett pulled in an astounding 15 rebounds. Unfortunately, the NBA shutdown came right as Barrett was getting into his zone. In the final game of his rookie season, Barrett scored 26 points, on 9-for-14 shooting in a win against Atlanta.
Moving toward next season, New York will have plenty of money to spend on free agents. According to Bleacher Report, the Knicks could possibly have up to $50 million to spend this offseason. Sadly, Knicks fans have heard this before. The 2019 class of free agents included stars such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard. New York was in consideration for each of them, and each went to a different team. The Knicks, however, ultimately ended up with Julius Randle. Yet, the next signing for the Knicks will most likely be a head coach.
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