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Knicks Season Preview 2023-24: A Glimpse into New York’s Future

Quentin Grimes knicks

For the New York Knicks and their loyal fanbase, the anticipation for the 2023-24 NBA season is palpable. As the team embarks on another campaign, they find themselves in a unique position—straddling the line between continuity and change. The core unit that brought them success in the previous season remains intact, but questions loom over their ability to evolve and compete at the highest level. In this Knicks Season Preview, we delve into the roster, identify key storylines, and contemplate the team’s playoff prospects.

Join us on this journey as we explore the promising yet uncertain path that lies ahead for the blue and orange of Madison Square Garden.

Knicks roster for the 2023-24 season

For the second year in a row, the Knicks core unit is returning. For some, this is welcoming news, for others, change was required.

Rotation players returning to the Knick roster we have:

  • Julius Randle
  • RJ Barrett
  • Mitchell Robinson
  • Jalen Brunson
  • Immanuel Quickley
  • Josh Hart
  • Quentin Grimes
  • Evan Fournier (Trade Likely)
  • Isaiah Hartenstein
  • Miles McBride
  • Jericho Sims

New additions to the roster:

  • Donte DiVincenzo
  • Isaiah Roby

Notable losses:

  • Obi Toppin

The front office has done little to update the roster during the 2023 offseason, opting to hold onto their assets and young core in search of a deal for a star player.

Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson all returning, led by Jalen Brunson at the point. The roster is leaning heavily on the development of its young core for improvement. In year 5, Barrett will need to take a leap. Consistency on the offensive end, improved three-point shooting and defensive efficiency will be keys to his success. More minutes initiating the offense could help alleviate some of the traffic near the basket.

In addition to Barrett taking the leap, Quentin Grimes is another breakout candidate for the Knicks. Sports Illustrated has Grimes as a Knick to watch next season. He is the perfect fit alongside Barrett and Brunson, and doesn’t require an open lane to score.

Outside of this core, the roster is stockpiled full of talent. The addition of DiVincenzo, with Hart and Quickley coming off the bench, the Knicks have maintained their depth. It will yet again be. a strength of this roster.

Biggest storylines for the Knicks

Can the Knicks improve offensively in the playoffs?

During the 2022-23 playoffs, the Knicks offense became a little too predictable at times. The regular season was a different story, with the Knicks ranked 3rd overall in offensive rating at 117.8.

Compare the regular season offensive rating with their playoff rating and the numbers tell a tale. The Knicks dropped almost 10 points to 108.9. Now, playoff games are tougher defensively and against better teams, so some regression is expected, although when watching the games you see the offensive difficulties.

In the second round matchup against the Miami Heat, and at moments in the Cleveland series, the Knicks offense seemingly hit the breaks and failed to produce. With so many of the starters sharing the same offense tendencies, it became easier for opposing defenses to defend.

The signing of Donte DiVincenzo should be significant in these moments. He gives the Knicks desperately needed 3pt shooting to help space the floor. He will bolster the bench unit alongside Josh Hart and Immanuel Quickley, whilst relieving some of the pressure on Quickley to shoulder the scoring burden. A burden that I believe has impacted his production in the playoffs.

Star player struggles in the playoffs

As New York fans, we quickly forget. Julius Randle was dominant during the 2022-23 season. Yet again, he was an all-star and all-nba player, averaged 25 points with a true shooting percentage (TS%) of 58.1%.

Randle deserved all the praise and accolades he received. Counter to this, he has now failed to deliver the same level of production in the playoffs.

For the New York Knicks to take a leap, he must be better in big games. For his career, in the playoffs, he averages 17 points on 34% shooting. This inefficiency had been difficult to overcome for Knicks. The spotlight will be on him to prove the doubters wrong in the 2022-23 season.

As another call out, Immanuel Quickley cannot be let off the hook. He’s searching for a contract north of $100 million. Perhaps a slight overpay, but he has the potential to outperform that contract. Having said that, with the big money comes even more expectations.

In the 2022-23 playoffs, Quickley averaged 9 points on 35% shooting with an abysmal 24% from three. As the Knicks sixth man, his lack of offensive output hurt them and was a major factor in the 6 game loss to the Heat.

We will finally know who RJ Barrett is

At 23 years old, in his fifth year, the 2023-24 season will show us the ceiling of RJ Barrett.

He was incredible in the playoffs, averaging 19 points on 43% shooting. Barrett carried the scoring load for the Knicks and singlehandedly won them games in the playoffs. Outside of Brunson, he was the best player on this team.

It now becomes a game of consistency for Barrett. Will he start the season slow…again? or will take ride the momentum of his stellar playoff performance into the 2023-24 season? Time will tell.

Barrett is set to be the third scoring option on this team. His woeful and inconsistent 3pt shooting, on over 5 attempts per game, is a handcuff for the Knicks. His strength is getting to the rim, but with Randle, Robinson, Hart and Brunson also sharing that strength, it limits his upside if he cannot improve in this area.

Outside of his shooting, his defense has continued to regress since he topped out in his second season. He had a defensive rating of 117.7 last season. With that said, he his a shooting guard playing the small forward position. Whilst out of position, he is struggling to stay in front of defenders and it forces Tom Thibodeau to switch lineups.

The hope is Barrett can become an overall more efficient player in the 2023-24 season. With this roster, he must improve if the Knicks want to make it through the second round.

The depth of the Knicks bench

The acquisition of DiVincenzo, with another year under Quickleys’ belt, the Knicks roster depth is in upper echelons of the league.

With the depth on offer, Thibodeau will have the ability to test numerous lineups. Plenty of scoring and defensive capability at the guard position on this roster.

The concern for New York is at power forward. The Obi Toppin trade to Indiana leaves a hole at the backup forward position, with no obvious suitor. Isaiah Roby will get an opportunity, but in all likelihood, we will just see more Randle.

Given this shortcoming, the Knicks should lean on their guard talent and explore smaller lineups.

Any Knicks moves to come next season?

New York has remained atop of the rumor mill this offseason. The Knicks reared their head in nearly every trade rumor, but never seemed close to pulling the trigger.

The front office have their eyes set on a star. They continue to accrue assets and wait to strike, with the 2024 offseason being the most likely timing.

In terms of immediate moves, Evan Fournier is the most likely candidate for a trade. He has maintained his stance on wanting a new home, and the Knicks are engaged in ongoing trade discussions to help him get there.

The depth at guard on this roster leaves no path to playing for Fournier. It is a move that is best for him and the team given his contract.

Will the Knicks make the playoffs in 2024?

It feels like we live in an alternate reality, but the New York Knicks are positioned to become a playoff mainstay for the foreseeable future.

After a strong 2023 playoff campaign, the Knicks should continue to build off their success into next season. At the very least, the expectation for this team will be to match their second round milestone from a year ago.

For Zach Lowe on ESPN, the ceiling for New York is an Eastern Conference finals berth. This is a major mindset shift for the traditional media. It was only a year ago that the Knicks were the butt of every joke after pursuing Jalen Brunson.

This is not the New York Knicks of the past. The Knicks have developed tremendous culture and maintained a consistent group with likeminded players. In a league of “I”, the Knicks are a culture of “We” and should be taken seriously.

As we wrap up this Knicks Season Preview for the 2023-24 season, one thing becomes abundantly clear—New York is a team on the cusp of something special. The Knicks’ steadfast commitment to nurturing their young core while adding valuable pieces to the puzzle underscores their determination to compete at the highest level.

So, as the lights at Madison Square Garden shine brightly once again, let us revel in the possibilities, embrace the challenges, and come together as fans to support our beloved Knicks. The 2023-24 season promises to be a thrilling journey, and we can’t wait to witness the story unfold, one game at a time.

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