For the New York Knicks, the 2022-23 season has been a mixed bag so far.
They sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a 9-10 record, which barely puts them in the play-in tournament picture, and they suffered a difficult 132-129 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without Damian Lillard, on Friday.
On the other hand, offseason acquisition Jalen Brunson is playing brilliantly, as he’s averaging 21.4 points and 6.5 assists per game, both of which are easily career-highs.
Every Jalen Brunson 2-point attempt last night (13/14) pic.twitter.com/xN9A91otAv
— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) November 22, 2022
Some in the Tri-State Area have been wondering if the Knicks could be dark horse contenders, but they simply aren’t for the following seasons.
Lack Of Top-End Talent
As well as Brunson is playing, the Knicks could again be left without a representative at this winter’s All-Star game in Salt Lake City.
Their only other player who is putting up significant numbers is Julius Randle, who is averaging 20.9 points on 46.4 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds a game.
But he is short of the production he provided two seasons ago when he was at 24.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest while hitting 41.1 percent from 3-point land.
Wing RJ Barrett is giving New York 18.4 points a game, but he’s shooting a paltry 39.4 percent from the field.
When the Knicks made the playoffs two seasons ago as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, it did so by becoming one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
But this year, they rank only 23rd in defensive rating, and their offense is too mediocre to pick up the slack.
New York has gotten away from the defensive-minded, grind-it-out identity it had two years ago, and without any real identity, the best it can likely do is sneak into the playoffs and lose in the first round.