Leave it to the lefties: 2022 New York Knicks season preview


All-Pro Reels | Wikimedia Commons

Muhamet Hadzibrahimi

After coming off a 37-45 regular season, the New York Knicks are looking to bounce back with the help of three southpaw shooters: RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson.

Together, they are the hope of a fanbase that not long ago saw their team secure the fourth seed in a competitive Eastern Conference.

The 2021 Knickerbockers regressed in many ways last season on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. In a three-point shooting league, the team ranked 24th in threepointers attempted, leaving them without a high-poweredoffense. Luckily, the Knicks offseason acquisition of $104 million point guard Jalen Brunson will remedy some of those shooting struggles.

After averaging an efficient 21.6 points per game and boosting the Mavericks to a Western Conference Finals appearance, Jalen Brunson decided to join the team that his father, Rick Brunson, is an assistant coach for currently. The New York-ties run deep for Jalen, whose godfather is the current Knicks President Leon Rose.

Brunson gives the Knicks the shifty, reliable point guard the team has been searching for. He is a point guard who at his best is the most effective driver in the NBA, capable of various pivots and fakes to keep his defender off guard.

With more ball handling opportunities in New York, Knicks fans should familiarize themselves with the multi-talented Brunson, who will open up the offense for fellow teammates Barrett and Randle.

Alongside Brunson, Barrett hopes to make a bigger impact with the team. The 22-year-old shooting guard is looking to obtain a more consistent role in the offense.

Barrett’s 2021 campaign saw a swing of various high and lows equating to a 20 point per game on 41% efficiency. Although improved from the previous season, Barrett’s higher usage in shot attempts left him with a lower field goal and three-point percentage. More shots may not be the answer for the former Duke one-and-done, but an emphasis on rounding out the other parts of his game.

On being asked what he believes the Knicks motivation for this season is, Barrett responded positively, stating, “I really think we’re gonna shock the world.” The young Barrett is also tasked with guarding elite scoring forwards and guards as part of developing into a two-way player.

The biggest X-factor this season is Randle. The former Most Improved Player of the Year award winner offers the grit, passion, and work ethic Knicks fans expect of their sports team. The biggest question with Randle is his inconsistent motor and high turnover numbers.

This past season, Randle saw his offensive numbers take a dip and the team shift to an offensive game plan centered around Barrett. With the addition of Brunson, Randle will be responsible for playing a lesser role to the two guards. If Randle meshes well with them, the Knicks’ ceiling as a team will return to 2020 form.

The roster still has veterans like Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier returning for another season, alongside Mitchell Robinson, who should continue to establish himself as one of the best defensive centers in the NBA.

The chemistry of the Knicks trio will be the deciding factor on how far the Knicks can go in the competitive Eastern Conference.