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New York Knicks’ Five Preseason Takeaways

Brooklyn Nets vs NY Knicks

The New York Knicks preseason wasn’t the shiniest bunch of games, but some bright spots revealed a promising team moving into the NBA’s regular season. Here are some key takeaways from the Knicks’ pre-season basketball.

Firstly, Jalen Brunson’s help has arrived.  Last season the Knicks’ title hopes ended after a robust Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Miami Heat, losing four games to two. Brunson’s performance was impactful and dominant, but it was too much for him to handle alone.

The Knicks have been preparing during the offseason by making suitable acquisitions and adjustments to the current roster. As Brunson remains in the starting five, his replacements are in the following order: Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride, Donte DiVincenzo and Quentin Grimes.

Brunson played 42.3 minutes per game and averaged 31.0 points per game in that Heat series and it came to a point where he was making blunderous errors where he would normally excel.

With other guards who can fill in for him, Brunson shouldn’t need to play as many minutes because Immanuel Quickley’s game improved. Immanuel Quickley was drafted by the Knicks in 2020 and there has been steady improvement each season. Quickley’s hard work continues to show as he’s able to get into the paint and the three-point line without hesitation. 

At times last season, it seemed like Quickley was hoisting up contested three-pointers and part of the reason may have been his slight undersize compared to other point guards. On October 9th against the Boston Celtics, Quickley had 21 points on 57.1 percent shooting to go along with three assists.

If Quickley can maintain this level of play going into the regular season, he would be a tremendous offensive threat considering his proficient perimeter and inside shot-making ability, which could foster a bright postseason run.

Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims’ high-energy plays have been great all the preseason. Last season, the Knicks saw Mitchell Robinson getting hurt or shaken up by more significant centers and it wasn’t fun for fans to watch, but not anymore.

Robinson is an offensive powerhouse and a monster on defense as he recorded 10.5 points, 1.8 steals, and a block per game in four games. He’s not the only one as Jericho Sims also made his presence known. Though Sims didn’t average much, he had one block per game, and he was running for loose balls, battling near the rim, and that’s just what the Knicks needed. 

The Knicks also needed chemistry, and what better way than to sign another Villanova Wildcat. During the offseason, the team acquired Guard Donte DiVincenzo from the Golden State Warriors. DiVincenzo scored 9.4 points with 3.5 assists a game. DiVincenzo is an unselfish, efficient scorer, much like Josh Hart. Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson and Ryan Arcidiacono were all on the Villanova Wildcats together.

Each player is unselfish but knows how to contribute to the wins as much as possible. They can be hesitant to shoot the ball at times, but when they do, it always helps the team out.

Julius Randle can benefit from unselfishness as he doesn’t need to play hero ball anymore. Julius Randle has been with the Knicks since 2019 and he’s been a great all-around player who can shoot, power inside, and play defense. However, the one thing that Randall struggles with is his playmaking decisions. 

Randle may have scored a career-high 25.1 points a game last season, but he also had 2.8 turnovers, which shows his sloppiness with the ball. One of the central factors for these bad decisions comes from Randle handling the ball in the paint, being double-teamed, and then throwing the ball away. 

Randle’s reasoning for making these poor decisions may have been justifiable in his first season with the Knicks being that they didn’t have a solid point guard, but not now that he has Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, and an array of ball-handling guards that follow. All Randle needs to do is pass the ball to an open player if he doesn’t get an open shot within two to three seconds.

The New York Knicks had a preseason with new strategies and lineups. All the pieces are together, but it’s a matter of using them correctly and to their advantage. Gaining an edge on other teams might help the Knicks make a deeper playoff run.

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