When it comes to the 2022-23 New York Knicks race, anyone would be guessing when it comes to predicting how the season will go.
Considering that they are only two seasons away from finishing fourth in the Eastern standings, and claiming the home ground advantage in the playoffs with the same core group of players, their upside is arguably rather high.
However, given that they just finished 11th last year with a score of less than .500 from 37-45, the bitter taste of the lack of a mid-range is still very refreshing for anyone betting New York is going to have a much-needed throwback campaign.
Now, while this latter view may not be the most luxurious by any means, NBA Insider Ian Begley recently stated in a September 20 interview with Nicks Fans Brasil that their mediocre situation in the season may end up being a positive for the team, Having such low expectations means that anything better than last season can be considered positive.
“I think one thing they strive for is low expectations. They are not burdened by anyone who thinks they are going to make the leap from last year. I think the standard is low, which is always good for me for a young team that is hungry and trying to prove itself,” Bigley said.
“If expectations are low, you won’t be burdened with devastating reactions after every loss because people don’t expect that much.”
In comparison, as last season approached, many were expecting the New York Knicks to build on the 2020-21 Cinderella story, keeping key pieces from that team like Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and Derek Rose without compromising the players. Like Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier in the mix which, at the time, were seen as rather cool additions.
It was hard for fans to put up with on their own to see the club lose the playoffs for the 17th time since the turn of the century in 2021-2022, but that’s coupled with the great expectations that followed them this year. Such an ending is becoming increasingly difficult to watch.
In Bigley’s view, if the bar is at ground level, exceeding expectations becomes a fairly easy feat.
The Knicks can be “in the hunt” to play in play
In the interview, Bigley would go on to suggest that, given the minimal pressure on the Knicks to succeed alongside a diverse pool of talent, they could realistically end up becoming a legitimate candidate to play at the end of the season.
“…I don’t think there’s any reason why they shouldn’t look for a championship play at the end of the year,” Bigley said.
“They have to be, you know, 36, 37, 38, 39 wins. They have to be there. And you have to look for the playing championship in the East, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Begley would go on to say that missing out on the playing cycle would be a “big disappointment” for the Knicks, especially when considering the fact that they signed Galen Bronson to an expensive contract at free agency and failed to get their coveted commercial target at Donovan Mitchell this summer.
Now, while his reasoning about the team’s expectations and expectations for the season is perfectly sound, we shouldn’t forget that all of the Eastern Conference clubs that participated in Championship play last season had winning totals hovering around the mid-40s, so insider opinions might need “36, 37, 38, 39 wins” to be enough to compete for a top ten spot, you may need a slight increase.
Thibodeau’s future with the Knicks in question
Recently, an anonymous NBA General Manager spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com and discussed how the Knicks could find themselves looking for a new head coach next summer if Tom Thibodeau has another season similar to the 2021-22 season.
“There was a lot of questioning whether he would have success last year after the way they broke up and how undisciplined this team seemed at times,” said Devine’s CEO. He was too slow to change the spin, things like that, and rub people the wrong way. But Tebes is always consistent in his approach. It will be the same this year.
“His problem is, look east, and they are 10th. This is the best case scenario if everyone is healthy in the east. They are 10th. So he can do the best work possible, finish 10th and still get kicked out. I would say he’s He’ll be sent off if they finish 10th. It’s a tough spot.”
Although he may be the two-time winner of the NBA Coach of the Year, each of Thibodeau’s three stints as head coach have met with unofficial endings, and judging by this team CEO’s analysis, he may be heading down the same “parting ways” with the Knicks coming end of the year.
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