Is this Knicks team the best the franchise has had since their 1993-94 season?

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau high fives New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) with guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) and forward OG Anunoby (8) and guard Jalen Brunson (11) during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It feels like just yesterday, even to those who weren’t born at the time, that the 1993-94 New York Knicks spearheaded by Patrick Ewing and John Starks gave the franchise their best shot at a title in over 40 years.

The Knicks have long waited for a team that could make a Finals push as strong as the legendary 1993-94 team

Since their loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the NBA Finals that year, the Knicks have sparingly had teams that could reach the same heights.

To the exception of the unprecedented run that the 1998-1999 squad had in reaching the Finals as a No. 8 seed, it took 12 long drawn out years for the Knicks to reach competitiveness once more.

Knicks lead the league in several metrics following the OG Anunoby trade

This season’s Knickerbockers are stacked with athletic talent that can both shoot and defend at a level that fans at Madison Square Garden have not seen since 1994. As The Ringer’s Zach Kram put it, the Knicks’ ascension in the wake of their trade for OG Anunoby has magnified their status to near-championship contenders, saying:

“If they can get healthy, though, they have considerably more potential with Anunoby in the frontcourt than they did before adding the 3-and-D wing. Since Anunoby played his first game as a Knick on January 1, New York ranks first in record (14-2), first in net rating (plus-15.8), and first in defensive rating (104.4), with only a sixth-place offensive mark (120.2) preventing a clean sweep,” said.

The Knicks have won 15 of their last 18 games and look like a completely revamped team with Anunoby in town. This has all taken place without Mitchell Robinson in the lineup.

Once the NBA’s best offensive rebounder and elite rim protector returns from his ankle injury sustained back on Dec. 8, the Knicks will present what could be the best defense not only in the league today, but also the best that we’ve seen dating back beyond this season.

The only Knicks teams between 1998-99 and 2012-13 that can measure up to this iteration are the 2010-11 Knicks headlined by Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Danilo Gallinari.

Are the Knicks one piece away from being the runaway favorites in the East?

Jalen Brunson still has to continually prove that he can be the main option on a championship team as he’s looked like this entire season before these Knicks can be mentioned next to their ’94 predecessors, as they had an undisputed Hall-of-Famer in Ewing at their helm.

Nevertheless, Brunson, Julius Randle, and Anunoby have looked like the quintessential 1-2-3 lineup of stars that all championship teams have had in recent memory. One more impactful trade before the deadline could put the Knicks on equal footing with their stiffest competition out East.

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