The number above is the over/under win total that was set for the New York Knicks this season according to basketball reference. These projections pinned the Knicks as the 11th-worst team in the league
New York was sandwiched between the Portland Trail Blazers (39.5) and the Washington Wizards (35.5). Other noticeable teams ahead of them were the Chicago Bulls (41.5), Los Angeles Lakers (44.5), New Orleans Pelicans (45.5), Atlanta Hawks (46.5), Toronto Raptors (46.5), Dallas Mavericks (48.5), Minnesota Timberwolves (49.5), Miami Heat (49.5), Phoenix Suns (52.5), Los Angeles Clippers (52.5), and Golden State Warriors (52.5).
All those teams were projected to have a better record than the Knicks this season. Of course, injuries happen, but it was really impressive New York finished with the eighth-best record in the NBA.
If you were curious, here’s how the Knicks have finished in terms of their over/under total in the Tom Thibodeau coaching era:
2020-21: 21.5——record: 41-31 (over)
2021-22: 41.5——record: 37-45 (under)
2022-23: 38.5——record: 47.35 (over)
This is now the second time in three seasons the Knicks have gone over their projection.
The number given to the Knicks was clearly low, but I think we’re all a bit surprised by just how good they were this season.
Questions coming into the season:
There were plenty of questions to be answered heading into the 2022-23’ campaign.
Will Julius Randle look like the 2020-21 All-Star version we saw or will his 2021-22 season be more the norm?
The former was the answer and Randle had a resurgent season averaging 25 points and ten rebounds, earning his second career All-Star appearance.
How will Jalen Brunson handle his first season in New York and will the contract be ‘worth it’?
I believe ‘worth it’ would be an unfair understatement to Brunson. The Knicks’ point guard was even better than most could’ve imagined. Brunson raised his scoring from 16.3 points to 24.0 and assists from 4.8 to 6.2. The should’ve been All-Star along with Randle has given the Knicks a 1-2 punch and made them a dangerous team.
How will RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, and Miles McBride continue to improve?
Not to rag too much on RJ Barrett but he didn’t have a great season. For what it’s worth, he still averaged 19.6 points and five rebounds, and had a higher effective field goal percentage this season compared to last season. Often he can get lost in the corner on offense and there never felt to be a consistent flow. Some of the blame is on him, and some of the blame is on the Knicks not being a team that passes well. RJ will get his shots and will be a major x-factor in the playoffs with his ability to go off on any given game. Barrett finished as a -52 on the season, second worst on the team only to Jericho Sims (-112).
The ascension of Immanuel Quickley was electric to watch this season. IQ averaged 15 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. When he played in the starting five, he saw his number raise to 21.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. He’s shown that he’s way more of an energy player off the bench, Quickley would start for a majority of NBA teams. The 25th pick in the 2020 draft had a career-high 4.4 offensive win shares and 2.3 defensive win shares. Quickleys defense has taken a major leap, and his 2.3 defensive win shares were more than Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Josh Hart, and Quentin Grimes. He finished with a team-high +319 this season. It was +128 better than Josh Hart in second place at +191.
Briefly touching on the other players, Quentin Grimes has proved to be a steady player. He started 66 of 71 games this season and averaged 11.3 points.
Obi Toppin finished the season strong, but overall it was a disappointing third campaign. He is still left without a real role, and his offseason play will factor into his future in New York.
Mitchell Robinson played in 58 games this season and averaged 9.4 rebounds. Robinson leads the league in offensive rebound percentage and is really good at what he does best, rebounding and defense.
Miles McBride appeared in 64 games this season, only playing 12 minutes per game. An effective defensive player, McBride could prove valuable in key spots if given the opportunity. Time will tell.
The addition of Josh Hart at the trade deadline was huge as he helped the Knicks to a 17-8 record.
Overall, it was an incredibly successful season for the New York Knicks. I’ll say that now and will continue to reiterate it even with a potential first-round loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Take a look back at the projections and see all those teams the Knicks were better than.
A real culture is starting to build in New York. This was just step one.
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