Knicks get A- in CBS Sports’ NBA midseason report card

NBA: Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks and the NBA’s other 29 teams got report cards dished out for the first half of the 2023-24 NBA season. A panel of CBS Sports writers graded every team in the NBA and gave the Knicks an A-, highlighted by OG Anunoby’s impact since joining the team. James Herbert justified the Knicks’ assessment by noting:

“Anunoby’s presence simultaneously improved New York’s spacing, its ball movement, and, obviously, its defense. This is a better, more balanced team with him on it, and it was predictable that Thibodeau would have trouble taking him off the court,” Herbert said.

The Knicks’ Record Over Their Last 11 Games Testifies to O.G. Anunoby’s Impact on the Team

The Knicks are 9-2 since Anunoby arrived in town. Of those nine wins, seven have been by double digits. Thanks to his historical plus/minus that made waves through his first five games in a Knicks uniform, the Knicks have built momentum that has carried them to a current 26-17 record, the No. 5 seed in the East, and ninth-best record in the league.

The Knicks’ Current Starting 5 is Finding Ways to Move The Ball More

There’s no doubt that the Knicks are more balanced with Anunoby in the rotation. Their starting five of Anunoby, Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Donte DiVincenzo averages 12.2 assists in _ minutes, far exceeding that of any other lineup head coach Tom Thibodeau has put on the floor this year.

That same lineup is also connecting on 52.8 percent of their field goals and 44.1 percent of their looks from outside.

Knicks Outpace a Couple of Eastern Conference Foes Ahead of Them in the Standings

The Knicks got a better grade than the No. 2 seeded Milwaukee Bucks and No. 4 seeded Cleveland Cavaliers, who both got B’s on CBS’ report card while the conference-leading Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers got perfect A+ marks.

Now, the Knicks will have to carry over their winning ways against stiffer competition. Notable wins over the Minnesota Timberwolves and 76ers gave them an edge over elite teams. They’ll get a chance to prove their strength further against the Denver Nuggets, and Miami Heat during rivals week, in two of their next three meetings.

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