New York Knicks seemed to be back after a strong 2020/21 campaign in which they finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, however, a dismal season followed and they failed to even make the Play-in last term.
The Knicks are hoping to return to the post-season, but they face a tall order given the strength of the other sides in the East.
With contenders lining up ahead of them, is there a path into the Play-offs for the Knicks, or will missing out on their top summer target cost them?
|What:||NBA Season 2022/23|
|Where:||USA and Canada|
|When:||October 18th 2022 - June 2023|
|How to watch:||Sky Sports, NBA Pass, bet365's Sports Live Streaming|
|Odds:||GS Warriors +600, MIL Bucks +650, BOS Celtics +700, LA Clippers +700, BKN Nets +700|
The Knicks have made some changes this season after last year's disappointment. They've added some depth to their side by getting Isaiah Hartenstein, Svi Mykhailiuk and Jalen Harris. However, this summer the Knicks tried to go all-in to upgrade their backcourt.
Their main target was Donovan Mitchell, with the deal rumoured to have fallen apart over protections on the third of three picks the Knicks agreed to send the Utah Jazz. Instead, the Cleveland Cavaliers got in and landed the All-Star, transforming their fortunes.
While the Cavs were already operating at a higher level, they've dropped to +1400 to win the East. The fact that the Knicks sit out at +3300 shows just how big of a blow missing out on Mitchell was to them.
With their path to landing a star still unclear, it’s hard to see how the Knicks become championship contenders in the short term.
The Knicks did land a guard in free agency, paying up for the services of Play-off breakout Jalen Brunson.
He posted 21 points per game as the Dallas Mavericks made it to the Western Conference Finals - that came after a regular season which saw him post a career-best in points, rebounds, and assists.
However, Brunson was doing that playing second fiddle to Luka Doncic. Opposition defences focused their defensive schemes around stopping Luka, leaving Brunson to thrive. He doesn't have that luxury in New York, as he'll be the primary ball-handler and main threat in the eyes of the opposition.
Brunson did well to land a $104million contract and he did play a huge role in a great run for the Mavs. However, the challenge he faces with the Knicks is going to be completely different and he might struggle to move the needle for them.
A huge factor in the Knicks' last Play-off appearance was Julius Randle, who had a breakout season in 2020/21. The forward won Most Improved Player that year, earning him a huge new contract.
However, he couldn't match those displays in the follow-up campaign, having posted career highs almost across the board in 20/21.
His follow-up campaign wasn't terrible, he still averaged 20 points per game last season. However, Randle wasn’t the same presence on the court and the Knicks missed that.
They'll hope that the focus on Brunson can allow Randle a little more room, but ultimately it all comes down to his own approach.
The Knicks have a tricky opener, heading to last season’s second seed in the West the Memphis Grizzlies. That's followed by a three-game home stand, facing the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets.
However, their opening five is rounded out with another tough trip, this time to the 2021 champion Milwaukee Bucks. While that early home run will give them a boost, it might hide the Knicks’ issues.
There seems to be a lot of optimism within the camp, with RJ Barrett claiming on media day that the Knicks would "shock the world" this season.
The Knicks look set for another tough season regardless of what Barrett thinks. They're priced at -180 to miss out on the Play-offs this season, which seems justified given the strength of their Eastern Conference rivals.
The Knicks were also some way off the pace last year, as they finished up six games back from the final Play-in spot. To close that gap this year they'll need Randle back to his best and Brunson to star, which seems like a lot to ask for from this team.