It was only a matter of time before the New York Knicks finally change direction after years of inadequacy. The Knicks were barely a destination for average players, let alone stars looking to win championships and build a legacy. Now, the Knicks are winning games and establishing themselves as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, winning close games after struggling to do so in recent weeks.
The rise of Julius Randle and the development of RJ Barrett has enticed players around the league, and drawing interest in New York City can be exquisite. Ultimately, New York offers the biggest stage for the biggest players, and if they want to build a legacy, MSG is the place to do it. However, winning is the priority for most players, especially if they can cash in at the same time. The Knicks might be able to offer both next off-season, as they plan to target a potential star in free agency to pair with Julius Randle, their best player, and only All-Star.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer believes the Knicks are more of a “destination” now than in the past:
“Team performance has gone a long way in repairing the organizationâ€™s image. But the people running the show have changed too, with a new front office led by former CAA agent Leon Rose and William Wesley (a.k.a. World Wide Wes). Fielding a competitive team and overhauling the front office is the same formula the big-market Clippers, Lakers, and Nets followed in recent years, with all three positioning themselves to appeal to their current superstars.”
We must acknowledge how important it is to be a destination in the NBA. If big names donâ€™t want to take their talents to a specific city or team, they will find another location to drop their bags. The Knicks currently rank eighth in the Eastern conference, just .5 games back from the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets. In fact, if they string together a few more wins, they are capable of shooting up to the fourth seed.
Just being in the playoff conversation makes a difference, and nobody expected this lowly Knicks team to make such an impact in year one with Tom Thibodeau as their head coach.