The New York Knicks have had an up-and-down season so far in 2021, but they’ve played above their weight class for a majority of their contests. They currently sit just one game below .500, with their most recent contest resulting in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. However, they strung together three consecutive victories prior to the defeat. In those three wins, they held the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic to 84 points or less and beat the Golden State Warriors by 15 points.
It has become clear to the Knicks are capable of being a quality team but still lack a few significant factors that separate good from great. It would be a bit optimistic to even consider the Knicks good right now, but they are hovering on the line of mediocrity.
One major factor that is holding the New York Knicks back:
Head coach Tom Thibodeau preaches this one factor routinely, and it is consistency. The Knicks often times take an early lead but fail to remain consistent throughout the game, missing open shots and playing spotty defense. However, they are currently the number one ranked defense in the NBA, which shows how far they’ve come in just one off-season. Their offense is their kryptonite, and whenever Julius Randle is forced to leave the court, it is noticeable.
“You’ve got to be ready to go from the start to finish,” Thibodeau said. “There’s different challenges each night whether it’s travel or back to back, you may be shorthanded, whatever it may be.
“You want to build that consistency in terms of how you prepare, how hard you play, how smart you play and how together you play. It’s a team sport so you’re relying on everyone doing it together. If we fall short in one area that can impact the execution of either your offense or your defense, you want to learn from each situation and come back ready for the next one.”
Based simply on how the Knicks have performed this year so far, we can confidently say they have taken significant strides forward in their development not just as a team but individually. Thibodeau was a fantastic hire, and if the roster continues to grow at this rate, they could be a playoff-contending team sooner rather than later.