The Future Is Now for the Knicks

The Knicks are young, hungry, and ready to compete again.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cover Image
By Yume Igarashi

Being a New York Knicks fan is tough. As a dedicated Knicks fan, you’re forced to watch the team tank every season. You’re made fun of by every other fan base. You watch young players develop improperly. You dream of signing stars like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James in free agency every single year, but the front office doesn’t take any decisive action. Every season, Knicks fans go through the same process of great expectations and equally great disappointment. They have the worst record of any team over the last 20 seasons. However, this year, Knicks fans have a reason to be excited.

After the departure of David Fizdale, one of the worst coaches the Knicks have had since Jeff Hornaceck, fans are hopeful about their new head coach. Coach Tom Thibodeau, former NBA Coach of the Year, represents everything this city has to offer; he preaches defensive effort and diving for loose balls and has everything to do with the success of the young Knicks.

The Knicks roster is younger than ever and they are buying into New York City basketball, so great basketball could be coming to New York sooner than most think. Promising young players like Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson, and RJ Barrett bring excitement to every game. Whether it’s Barrett “wheeling and dealing,” Robinson “posting and toasting,” or Quickley “spinning and winning,” all of the youngsters bring hustle to the floor. Barrett has continuously struggled with shooting, but his rebounds, defense, and drives to the basket keep him active. While Quickley has to work on shot selection, his incredible knack for drawing contact makes him extremely elusive and dangerous.

Julius Randle has also had a breakout year. Randle is averaging around 23 points and 11 rebounds per game, putting him in All-Star consideration. Though Randle still spins wildly into the paint, leading to many of his turnovers, he has greatly improved his three-point shooting ability and playmaking, averaging 6.7 assists per game so far. Randle is leading this Knicks team so far, but he’s not on his own. The Knicks picked up Austin Rivers this year in free agency for the veteran minimum. Rivers has proved to be a great locker room player and a vocal leader, pairing with Randle to push the Knicks’ young talent forward.

Year after year, the Knicks enter the lottery aiming to take another “promising” young rookie, but it never seems to pan out. Kristaps Porziņģis is out of New York. Frank Ntilikina is fighting for bench minutes. Kevin Knox is still a work in progress, and the Knicks’ pick, Robinson, has proven to be a solid starter. Their 2019 lottery pick, Barrett, shows the most promise from this group. As a rookie, Barrett averaged 14.3 points per game in a terrible Knicks offense. This year, Knicks fans can expect Barrett to thrive and other young players such as Knox to step up. Knox has shown a lot of improvement in the first few games of the season and is now a better three-point shooter. Most importantly, he shoots with confidence. “Shooters shoot” is one of the most influential sayings in the game of basketball, and Knox absolutely shoots.

The Knicks also drafted hometown kid Obi Toppin with the eighth pick this year. Weary Knicks fans once again have a rookie to be excited about. Toppin was projected as a top five pick but was still available at pick eight, a no brainer decision for the Knicks as Toppin is a high-flying power forward from Dayton who won the Naismith College Player of the Year trophy in 2020. Toppin plays with grit and hustle, making highlight plays everywhere on the floor. He will help the Knicks build their culture, and most importantly, he wants to be a Knick and return the team to its former glory.

The Knicks have not had a winning season since the 2012-2013 season, but after all this time, true Knicks fans still proudly represent their team and city. That’s what makes us Knicks fans. We take pride in our city and team no matter what. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Madison Square Garden filled up every night regardless of the Knicks’ record or who they were playing, because basketball means everything to New York. From Rucker Park to Madison Square Garden, basketball is all New Yorkers really know. There’s a reason why the Big Apple is the basketball mecca of the world. All Knicks fans want is to have meaningful games in the best arena in the world again, and it is closer to happening than ever.