The New York Knicks are entering the 2021-22 season with elevated expectations and plenty of talent to justify their goals. After earning the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks are looking to make an even deeper run this upcoming season, and signing Evan Fournier, and Kemba Walker should back up that assessment.
Letâ€™s take a look at three bold predictions they could see several young players make an even bigger impact.
Three bold predictions for the Knicks next season:
1.) RJ Barrett will lead the team in 3-PT percentage
Last season, second-year shooting guard RJ Barrett ended up being one of the team’s best three-point shooters. He finished the season, hitting on 40% of his shots from three after connecting on 32% during his rookie campaign in 2019. Attempting 4.3 shots from range per game, he connected on 1.7, posting 17.6 total points. His corner three-point shot was lethal for a team that desperately needed him to improve from beyond on the rim.
Barrett ranked fifth on the team among players who averaged 10+ minutes per contest. He sat behind Alec Berks, Julius Randle, Derrick Rose, and Reggie Bullock. He was only 1.4% away from being the team’s top three-point shooter, and that is a goal heâ€™s looking to accomplish this upcoming season. Working on his shot creation and shooting fundamentals, Barrett leading the team in that category, would see his value skyrocket at 21 years old.
2.) Immanuel Quickley will average 15+ points per game
Second air player Immanuel Quickley had himself a solid Summer League running point, averaging 20.2 points per game over 33.5 minutes. Quickley averaged 11.4 points last season over 19.4 minutes per game, and both of those statistics could see an increase next season. Shooting nearly 40% from the field and 39% from three-point range, Quickley proved he is an offensive weapon that is only hitting his stride at the NBA level.
However, during the Summer League, he only shot 33.7% and 24% from three. The sample size is extremely small over just five games, but heâ€™s more than capable of averaging 15+ points per game, especially as Tom Thibodeau will look to get him involved.
Some might say Quickley scoring 15+ points isnâ€™t a bold take, but the Knicks have a lot of mouths to feed this season, especially with the retention of Alec Burks and the signing of Kemba Walker. I wouldnâ€™t forget about the drafting of Quentin Grimes either, who will earn minutes at shooting guard.
3.) Mitchell Robinson will win DPOY of the year
Thereâ€™s nobody that believes in Mitchell Robinson more than himself and the front office, as heâ€™s been vocal on social media propagating his hard work this off-season. Increasing his size and muscle mass, Robinson is optimistic he can win Defensive Player of the Year. As a lanky center who can guard the perimeter, Robinson is capable of being a star defensive player, but his primary struggle is remaining healthy. Robinson has never played over 66 games in a season, playing in just 31 last year with a broken foot and hand.
If he can remain consistent in the health category, Robinson can easily become one of the league’s most feared defenders. Improving his physicality in the paint will also give him more success against bigger, more imposing power forward and scoring centers. During his rookie year, Robinson blocked a career-high 2.4 shots per game. He will be looking to resurrect that version of himself — coincidentally, Mitch also played the most game of his career in that season. Momentum has proved to be a catalyst for his success.