The New York Knicks enter the All-Star break in much better shape than they were in previous seasons.
New York currently sits as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings (the final playoff spot) and holds a 33-27 record, which is their best record through the first 60 games of a season since the 2012-13 season, when they were 38-22 in that stretch.
The Knicks are no longer a joke. It is now time for other teams to take them more seriously.
The Knicks have become one of the league’s better teams:
Not only are the Knicks a much better team than last year, they are also one of the league’s best teams right now.
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Their aforementioned 33-27 record this season is the ninth-best in the NBA and is better than the Suns, Clippers, Mavericks, Heat, and Warriors. Since Dec. 4, the day the Knicks made major changes to the rotation, they have gone 23-14, which is the sixth-best record in the NBA and third-best in the East over that span.
The Knicks have been among the league’s best in several major categories, ranking fourth in the East at team points per game at 114.6 and the fifth-best point differential in the East at +2.3.
For further clarity, last year’s Knicks team had just 106.5 PPG. The addition – and breakout – of guard Jalen Brunson, as well as the resurgence of Julius Randle, have catapulted this team into one of the better offensive teams in the NBA.
Their 115.7 offensive rating ranks seventh-best in the league, which is significantly better than their 110.4 offensive rating last season.
The defensive side of the ball has not seen a drastic improvement overall this season, but they do own the league’s eighth-best net rating at 2.0.
The Knicks also have the pieces to become a juggernaut on defense, especially with the recent acquisition of Josh Hart and the drastic improvement from Immanuel Quickley.
New York has had success against the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference this season, as they are 23-16 against conference opponents and have beaten both the 76ers and Cavaliers (both teams ahead of New York) twice this season.
It is still to be seen how this team would perform should they return to the postseason, but based off of their major improvements from last season, the Knicks could be in for a fun ride the rest of the way.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_