By Nick Paniagua, Staff Writer
The NBA regular season has finally come to a close. Although the Nets have clinched a spot in the play-in games for the playoffs, the Knicks have missed the playoffs. After having been the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference after last season, the Knicks failed to follow up on that success this season. The Knicks finished with a 37-45 record overall, which netted them eleventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks faced a series of problems throughout this NBA season that caused them not to make the playoffs. Senior communications major Dean Jonnaou commented on the Knicks issues.
“Last season, the Knicks had one of the top-ranked defenses, but their offense was below average,” Jonnaou said. “They let go of a couple of strong defenders in order to bring in offensive focused guards like Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. Unfortunately, this hurt the defense more than it helped the offense.”
This year, the Knicks allowed an average of 106 points per game, two points more than the team last year. Although that may be expected, they also averaged one point less than they did the year prior, as they averaged 106 points per game this year.
Sophomore broadcasting major Brady Campbell also shared similar thoughts on the Knicks season.
“The players have also not played well. Julius Randle is nowhere near the player he was last year, and they rely too much on three-point shooting,” he said. “Their rebounding is also very poor and their defense can use some work.”
Julius Randle, who was a focal point of the Knicks’ offensive success last season, didn’t have quite the same season. He averaged 20 points per game this season, four less than last season, while also shooting worse from the three-point line this season, going down from 41 percent to 30 percent.
Although the Knicks weren’t able to make the playoffs this season, Jonnaou explained that it may not be a reflection of how the team had success last season.
“I wouldn’t call last season a fluke, but I believe that management was wrong to expect the minor changes they made to ensure the team would get back to the playoffs. I don’t think the win total this season is an egregious underperformance of the team’s talent,” he said. “If anything, last season the team over-performed, and this season the rest of the conference improved significantly.”
The Eastern Conference has been a much stronger conference this year than last, with teams such as the Bulls, Cavaliers, and Hornets making it to the playoffs this season despite not making the playoffs last season.
When looking toward the off-season, especially free agency, Campbell believes that some changes need to be made within the Knicks organization.
“There definitely has to be some changes for next season. I think they should trade Randle despite a great last season. This year it’s been pretty hard to watch, though, as he completely fizzles out by the fourth quarter,” Campbell said. “The team as a whole is exhausted by the fourth quarter, which I believe is part of why they keep blowing big leads. One would think that New York would be a great place to go to, but the team is managed too poorly. Hopefully, they can acquire assets that fit in nicely with players like Barrett, Toppin and Quickley for the future.”
The Knicks will look to get back to the playoffs when the next season begins.