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Knicks Playoff Chances Soar as They Eye a Deep Run

knicks playoffs hopes

The New York Knicks have been a team on the rise this NBA season, with their playoff chances looking increasingly likely as the regular season winds down. With key acquisitions and strong performances from their core players, the Knicks have positioned themselves as a legitimate playoff contender.

In this article, we will delve into the factors behind the Knicks’ playoff chances, highlighting the moves they made during the 2022-23 season that have propelled them into the conversation. We will also examine potential playoff matchups and analyze how the Knicks stack up against their competitors. For Knicks fans, the prospect of a deep playoff run is within reach, and we will explore why this is the case in detail. So, let’s take a closer look at the Knicks playoff chances and what fans can expect from their team in the postseason.

Will the Knicks make the playoffs?

Today, in mid-March, the New York Knicks are sitting in the 5th seed, 3 games ahead of the 7th seeded Miami Heat. With only 9 games remaining in the season, barring a disastrous finish, the Knicks will make the playoffs.

Having said that, there is one consideration Knick fans must remember, and that is the play-in tournament. With the NBA recently introducing the play-in tournament, there is an added level of urgency for teams to finish in the top six of their respective conferences to secure an automatic playoff berth.

For the Knicks, this is especially true as they want to avoid the play-in tournament at all costs. In a one-game series, any team can come out on top. While the tournament provides an opportunity for lower-seeded teams to sneak into the playoffs, it also adds an extra level of unpredictability and puts teams at risk of missing out on the postseason entirely. The Knicks will need to maintain their current level of play and secure a top-six seed to avoid the play-in tournament and cement their place in the playoffs.

Mid-season moves improved the Knicks playoff chances

Knicks switch to a 9-man rotation

The Knicks turned their season around on December 4th, 2022 by committing to a 9-player lineup. The change sent Cam Reddish and Evan Fournier to the bench, following a brutal 121-100 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The 9-player rotation gave the Knicks consistency and greater chemistry, especially within the starting lineup.

Whilst it was a tough decision for Tom Thibodeau, the change solidified the Knicks defense. In addition, it gave players like Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes consistent minutes and regular time in the rotation. Since both of these players are incredible. defenders, the team defense improved immensely.

Cam Reddish traded to acquire Josh Hart

On February 9th, 2023, the New York Knicks acquired Josh Hart from the Portland Trailblazers. In exchange, the Knicks sent forward Svi Mykhailiuk to Charlotte and guard Ryan Arcidiacono, forward Cam Reddish, a protected first round draft pick and the draft rights to Ante Tomic, per

Following this trade, the Knicks enjoyed a 9 game winning streak, with wins over the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Not even the Knicks could have comprehended just how valuable Hart would be to their playoff chances. His hardworking, defensive and team first mentality has changed the dynamic of this team.

Potential Knicks first round playoff matchups

As the Knicks gear up for a potential playoff run, they will likely face one of three teams in the first round: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, or Philadelphia 76ers. We dive into each of these matchups to assess the Knicks playoff chances.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Knicks most likely playoff matchup in the first round is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Currently the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, they are 3 games ahead of the New York Knicks. With a young core, and Donovan Mitchell at the helm, they are a dangerous opponent for any team to face.

Offensively, the Cavaliers are in the lower echelon of the NBA. With an average of 112.2 points per game, they sit 24th overall between the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic. The Knicks on the other hand are middle of the pack, averaging 115.4 points per game, per Statmuse.

In addition to the points differential, the Knicks have a significant advantage rebounding the ball. The Cavaliers struggle on the boards. If the Knicks score at their average rate and secure second chance opportunities, they will be a major challenge for the Cavaliers.

2. Philadelphia 76ers

Second to the Cavaliers, the next most likely matchup is with the Philadelphia 76ers. Currently the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, they are 7 games ahead of the New York Knicks. Should the Knicks fall to the 6th seed, this is who they will face.

The 76ers have had their playoff struggles in recent years. Despite having a talented roster, the team has struggled to advance past the second round. Often falling short in crucial moments.

In the 76ers last five playoff appearances, they have failed to make the Eastern Conference finals. This has led to frustration among fans and players alike. For a team with such high expectations, the 76ers’ lack of success in the playoffs has been a bitter pill to swallow, and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to break through and be a true contender.

Joel Embiid is the head of the snake in Philadelphia. They go as far as he will take them. While James Harden is a strong complimentary piece, his inefficiency and high usage can cause difficulties at times. As long as Embiid is a member of this team, they will be the favorite.

When we look at the numbers, the Knicks hold a significant advantage in defensive rating and rebounding. Whilst the 76ers hold a slight advantage in offensive rating at 117.7 compared to 177.3, according to statmuse. You can make the case that the Knicks will give the 76ers all they can handle, but ultimately, it will come down to how well Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein can defend Embiid.

With the star power firmly in the hands of the 76ers, the New York Knicks do have a path to victory. Strong defense and rebounding, along with strong bench play could be too much for the top heavy 76ers.

3. Boston Celtics

Finally it’s the Boston Celtics. Currently the 2nd seed, they are 7.5 games ahead of the New York Knicks. The team that has been widely touted as the favorite to come out of the East, have had their difficulties against this Knicks team.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown arrived in the 2022 NBA finals. While most of the attention has centered around Tatum, Brown is no chump. He clearly outplayed his teammate during the finals and he should continue to his strong play into this potential playoff series. Marcus Smart will now have a major burden lifted from his shoulders with the addition of Malcom Brogdon, and will benefit having a true point guard to manage the tempo of the game.

In the 2022-23 season, the Knicks got the better of the Celtics, taking the season series three games to one. Although, two of these, the Knicks won in overtime. The Knicks were able to score at will in their matchups this season, but injuries also played a part in these outcomes.

By the numbers, the Knicks have been as good as any team in the NBA this season. They stack up against the best across all major categories and sit 7th in the NBA in net rating, per statmuse. The Knicks, with a strong game plan, have the potential to upset the Celtics.

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