Knicks Looking To Recover From Discouraging 2021-22 Campaign
The New York Knicks went from being the NBA’s biggest surprise team to one of the biggest disappointments in a short one-year span.
In 2020-21, Tom Thibodeau led the longtime struggling Knicks to a 41-31 record that was good enough for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Atlanta Hawks needed just five games to take out the Knicks in round one, but it was hard for fans in the Big Apple to complain about how the season played out. After all, the Knicks played in an unforgiving Atlantic Division and yet still locked down their first playoff appearance in eight years.
But the Knicks were unable to build off the unexpected success of 2020-21. They finished 37-45 on the year — a whopping six games out of the final play-in berth in the Eastern Conference. It didn’t help that Atlantic Division rivals in the Toronto Raptors (48-34) and the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics (51-31) vastly improved after disappointing 2020-21 seasons, of course.
Expectations aren’t exactly high for the Knicks entering 2022-23, either. They have the lowest odds of winning the Atlantic Division at New York sports betting sites, including DraftKings (+350). They are also a +12000 longshot to win the 2023 NBA Championship over at the FanDuel sportsbook.
Sports fans in The Empire State can also enjoy the many special promo codes and welcome bonuses that these sportsbooks are offering. For example, Caesars and FanDuel are offering a risk-free bet of up to $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. BetRivers is handing out $250 in free bets if you deposit $250.
GM Scott Perry Made Win-Now Move By Acquiring Jalen Brunson
Many Knicks fans and basketball prognosticators were baffled by the Knicks’ work at the 2022 draft. When all was said and done, the team only drafted one player that they wound up keeping (Duke guard Trevor Keels at No. 42 overall).
It was well-known ahead of free agency that Dallas Mavericks’ standout Jalen Brunson was the main priority for Perry. The latter traded away injury-prone guard Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons in a cap-saving move (Walker was subsequently bought out).
Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel were also dealt to Detroit to clear additional cap room. In the early stages of free agency, Perry got his man by signing Brunson to a four-year deal worth a lucrative $104 million.
The addition of Brunson signals one thing: The Knicks have an eye on returning to the postseason in 2023. Perry would not have traded all of those veterans and significant 2022 draft capital if he wanted to rebuild.
It’s been a while since the Knicks employed a young stalwart shootout guard of Brunson’s caliber. The soon-to-be 26-year-old is coming off a career year in which he averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. Brunson also shot a superb 50.2 from the field.
Brunson will serve as a nice complement to the exciting young duo of R.J. Barrett and Julius Randle. Even more encouraging for Knicks fans? Perry may not be done wheeling and dealing.
Knicks Could Make A Play For Jazz Star Donovan Mitchell
Citing sources, ESPN’s Wojnarowski reported on July 12 that “rival teams say the Utah Jazz are showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios,” for superstar Donovan Mitchell.
Head coach Quin Snyder stepped down after the team’s first round elimination at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks, and Rudy Gobert was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a summer blockbuster for the ages. Trading Mitchell would all but signal that Utah is in full-on rebuilding mode, and the Knicks could have interest.
Following Wojnarowki’s report, Tony Jones of The Athletic reported that New York is “expected to quickly try to put together a trade package for” Mitchell.
A three-time All-Star, Mitchell is one of the game’s elite all-around guards. He has averaged over 20 points per game in each of his five NBA seasons, and over 23 PPG in each of the last four campaigns.
Mitchell has been instrumental in turning the Jazz into a Western Conference powerhouse. Without a doubt, his addition would make the Knicks a force to be reckoned with in the East. Adding Brunson was a giant win to begin with. If Perry finds a way to land Mitchell? The letdown that was the 2021-22 season will quickly be forgotten about in The Big Apple.