I was wrong about the New York Knicks. The gap between where the Knicks are and what I thought they would be is greater than for any team I can ever remember. And no matter what happens from this point on, their season is a success because they’ve earned respect.
Shedding the laughing stock label they also earned over many years, was no small feat. But one can’t help but appreciate this squad given the way they compete.
I believe Tom Thibodeau is clearly the Coach of the Year as he has both maximized and developed the roster he has. And he shouldn’t be alone in taking home hardware because Julius Randle is the Most Improved Player in the league. I still find myself wowed at the fadeaway and step back jumpers he’s made routine.
The strides RJ Barrett has made also deserve mention, as with his outside shot now a real threat he’s become a building block and looks like a potential All-Star.
And then there’s Derrick Rose, who has proven he still has a lot left to offer and is having the kind of late career phase that will have people appreciating his game more.
With the way the Knicks defend, they may be a team others prefer not to face in the playoffs, but what they’ve done overall could finally be what makes Madison Square Garden a place players want to play...and not just when they’re visiting.
Either way, you won’t catch me laughing at the Knicks anymore, because this current team is no joke.