The New York Knicks are just two regular-season games away from starting their postseason journey. While they currently contain the final guaranteed playoff spot with the 6th seed, there is potential for the Knicks to maneuver upward. If they can win the next two contests and either Miami or Atlanta lose, they could leapfrog one of them to get a better standing.
Ultimately, home-court advantage would be an astronomical benefit, but even so, the fact the Knicks are in the postseason is somewhat of a miracle. Thanks to a variety of factors, including head coach Tom Thibodeau and the rise of Julius Randle, the Knicks have become not only a destination for stars in the future but a team ready to win now.
Randle, who has one year left on his contract, will likely be seeking a max deal with the Knicks. He will earn nearly $20 million next season. Upper management might be smart to wait and see if he continues dominating at this level. With only one year of elite production, it might be premature to offer him a long-term deal immediately, but Randle wants to stay in New York for the rest of his career.
“I love playing in New York,” Randle said on the Victory Podcast. “I want to retire as a New York Knick.”
Overall, Julius is only 25 years old and could play elite basketball for the 5-6 seasons. If he continues to play at this level, the Knicks shouldn’t hesitate to retain him, as acquiring stars players in free agency has become increasingly more difficult with player options and big money.
The Knicks have a secret weapon for the playoffs:
One of the more underappreciated players on the roster is Alec Berks, who returned from contracting COVID-19 several days ago. After sitting out against the Lakers, Burks bounced back with a vengeance, willing his team to victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday evening. Scoring 30 points and recording 10 rebounds, Burks was unstoppable on offense and was helping his team retain the ball on defense.
Burks is averaging 12.6 points per game this year, including 2.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds. He shooting .416 from the field and .409 from beyond the arc, one of his better success rates over the course of his 10-year career.
Having Alec healthy and available during the playoffs well prove to be a significant boost, as he offers immediate offense and the ability to hit clutch shots down the stretch.