The Knicks have been hot and cold out the gate. Pat Diaz walks us through some of the things that have stood out through three games.
The NBA is finally underway and as we enter the second week of the season the Knicks currently stand at 1-2. While it’s only 3 games and it’s still too early to say anything about anything, here are some storylines worth tracking:
Year 5 is up to a rousing start for the homegrown talent. RJ has come out of the gates on fire and has been the Knicks’ best player through the first three games. Barrett’s performance so far is an extremely small sample size but it’s still very encouraging. The former first-round pick has been notorious for slow starts to the seasons in the past but playing for Team Canada this summer seems to have done wonders for Barrett and could be the reason for his preparation. With Randle and Brunson headlining the team, it would be good for Barrett to cement his role as a tertiary option in the early stages of the campaign and so far he’s taken up the challenge with the former two’s early struggles. Hopefully, the hot start means an end to the prolonged cold starts as the season progresses.
RJ GETS THE LAYUP
Knicks are back within 10👀 pic.twitter.com/1zjMsBFwJ9
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 29, 2023
Randle has gotten off to a molasses-slow start offensively but he’s contributing in other ways. He’s been a beast on the boards and he’s been finding open teammates. He may still be shaking the rust off from his ankle surgery but it can’t be ignored that his lackluster offense so far has contributed to the Knicks 1-2 start. Maybe back-to-back off nights before the Knicks take on the Cavs on Tuesday will do him good.
In the first 3 games of the season, Jalen Brunson has had one great performance sandwiched between two bad ones. Like Randle, his slow start offensively has doomed the Knicks early on but also like Randle, it’s too early to worry. Brunson is creating opportunities like usual but the ball just isn’t falling. Basketball is a game of runs and it will start soon enough.
Robinson has been expected, a monster defensively and on the glass. While he has been great to start the season he was especially dominant against the Hawks, recording four steals and four blocks. Robinson’s inside presence was on full display in Atlanta which coincided with Brunson’s outburst resulting in the Knicks’ first and only win so far. He’s currently leading the league in offensive rebounds
Mitch says NO🚫 pic.twitter.com/NQWni1W7DE
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 28, 2023
Grimes is still looking to find his footing in the early stages of the season. It hasn’t been easy early on for him having to take on the toughest defensive assignment to start games of the season. He’s done well helping shut down the likes of Trae Young and Jaylen Brown in two of the first three games of the season but he did have a hiccup as the Pels’ Brandon Ingram got the best of him. Defensively, there is nothing to worry about with Grimes, it’s his shooting that’s more of the concern right now, he hasn’t been able to get into a rhythm shooting the ball just yet resulting in poor scoring numbers.
The Knicks didn’t offer Immanuel Quickley a contract extension before the season started, setting him up to be a restricted free agent next summer. But, that has not stopped IQ from doing his job. Like Barrett, he also has had an encouraging start to the season as he’s once again the spark plug offensively off the bench. Quickley has stated that his main priority is to help the team, but he does have the added motivation of getting paid this summer by the Knicks or someone else. The NBA season is long and nobody knows what can happen but the Knicks will need Quickley in more ways than one, while he’s the unquestioned sixth man, throughout his short career he’s been a jack of all trades for the team, from a spot starter when a someone goes down to carrying the team on nights when things aren’t going. IQ will look to remind the Knicks how invaluable his contributions are to the team’s success.
The Rest of the Bench
The Knicks bench looks like a force to be reckoned with. While the early 1-2 record doesn’t show it, any of them is liable to go off. There have already been significant contributions from Isaiah Hartenstein and newcomer Donte DiVincenzo. Immanuel Quickley and Josh Hart’s impacts on the team are undeniable and shouldn’t be taken for granted. This group can score and defend against anyone and they’re only four deep. The Knicks still have the potential to add Evan Fournier, who has been a successful role player in the past, and Deuce McBride, who still has yet to see significant playing time.