Happy Thanksgiving! We Knicks fans have plenty to be thankful for this season. The team is 8-6 and sits seventh in the Eastern Conference—which is respectable given the well-documented slog of their early schedule. The Knicks have won six of their last nine games, including three on the road, while shooting 46% from downtown over that span. They rank first for Opponents Points per Game and sixth for Net Rating; they rate eighth for defense out of 30 teams and will soon break the top ten for offense. All good stuff!
Thanksgiving is a day to appreciate the things in your life (as opposed to the other 364...), and the Knickerbockers are a significant part of our daily existence. To celebrate the holiday, these are the Knicks for whom we are most thankful this season.
Antonio Losada: Mitchell Robinson. I assume the more times I type Mitchell Robinson’s name the more traction Mitchell Robinson will get and the more Mitchell Robinson will trend in Google and I guess that would help Mitchell Robinson get in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year while also making Mitchell Robinson an All-Star candidate. Jokes aside, Mitch has been as fun as advertised, and then some! I have always liked Robinson’s style (of play, not to be confused with his musical taste) and he’s leveled up his production this year to unreasonable extents. He’s grabbing rebounds like a madman, line-driving freebies to the rim, and pogoing in the paint in an extraordinarily fun-to-watch way. And now you’re telling me he also got installed a crossover package!? I cannot be thankful enough for this man being the longest-tenured New York Knicks player on the current team.
Josh Wiesel: Jalen Brunson & Julius Randle: I’m going with a little combo here. I think at times it gets a bit underrated how good these two are at basketball. Where they rank in terms of duos in the NBA, I’m not sure, but I’m thankful they are on my team. Randle got off to a slow start this season, but has seemingly turned it around. He’s averaging 5.3 assists this season, which is great to see. Jalen Brunson continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. The Knicks point guard won Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Week 4 of the 2023–24 season (Nov. 13-19). It’s very cool to see a player on your team win that, and it does mean something. The Knicks were stuck in mediocrity for a long time. We now have two legit All-Star and All-NBA players; it’s a big deal. Those two lacing it up every game will give the Knicks a chance to win any game they play. I’m thankful for that.
Russell Richardson: Most thankful for? Jalen Brunson and Mitchell Robinson are indispensable and obvious choices. RJ Barrett was converting hearts and minds before migraines caused multiple absences; he deserves consideration. Immanuel Quickley is fun to watch, ranks third for the team’s win shares, and his player efficiency rating is fourth behind the aforementioned three. Statistics + affection = an uncontroversial choice. What about Julius Randle, who leads the team in assists? Without him New York would be flattened by larger frontcourts. Speaking of, why not Isaiah Hartenstein? The Big Strudel keeps the paint-party pumping when Robinson takes a blow!
Nahhh, the prompt isn’t “Best” or “Favorite” but “The Knick for whom I am thankful.” Get your mitt, here comes my curveball: right now, it’s Donte DiVincenzo.
DDV was the available answer when the executive suite needed to address the Knicks’ lack of shooting. Thus far, he’s answered the bell—aside from a stumble out of the gate (and who hasn’t had a challenging first week at work?). Over 14 games, the newbie has averaged five three-point attempts per game and made 38% (the team’s fourth-best). Beyond the Three, he brings the D: among Knicks who have logged more than 100 minutes, his defensive rating ranks behind only Robinson and Hartenstein. He’s recorded the second-most steals on the team (14) and third-most blocks (5). Shabby? Not so.
Donte has already given New York two career-bests: 25 points and seven made three pointers against Charlotte last week. And, as Fred Katz wrote in The Athletic this week, DiVo is almost telepathically linked to his teammates, anticipating what they’ll do and reacting accordingly. He adds depth to our bench, and, maybe best of all, he keeps the heat on Quentin Grimes. Before this season, we had high expectations for Grimes. The results have not overwhelmed. Competition for the starting job should challenge Quentin to challenge himself, and the Big Ragu is just the meatball to spice things up.
As the season progresses, I’ll bet DDV harmonizes even more prettily with his teammates—Villanovan or otherwise—and bests his career-highs again. That’s something to be thankful for, for sure. And oh, I believe I’ve exceeded my word limit. . . .
Andrew Polaniecki Josh Hart. He’s been my favorite Knick since the day they traded for him. I’ve always had an affinity for the grittier guys who are fan favorites when their number is called upon to come off the bench. His numbers are down in comparison to last season, but that doesn’t really matter as long as he keeps doing all of the little things the Knicks as of him to do. How many other Knicks have brought some streetball action to the Garden this year by throwing the ball of of a defender mid shot? Maybe he will even braid a turkey in his braids this year.
Happy Thanksgiving, Knicks family!