The New York Knicks were arguably the best story of the 2020-21 NBA season. With their team eliminated from the playoffs so early, it’s easy to forget just how magical it was for them to actually just be there in the first place.
The Knicks finished as the sixth worst team in the entire association a season ago, with no lottery luck to ease the pain of another bottom feeder finish. One of the most shocking aspects of the Knicks’ turnaround is just how exactly they got there. New York has spent years striking out at signing some big fish free agents, famously spurned by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant for their rival Brooklyn Nets a season ago. But instead of finally hitting it big, they found their footing in-house by developing their players, putting better decision-makers in charge, and signing the right coach to steer the ship.
But as great as last season was, the honeymoon period is already over for the Knicks. They played with house money last season, with fans just happy to see some postseason action again. They won just one game, but that’s one more than anyone expected before the season began.
However, with success comes heightened expectations. Julius Randle went from city-wide darling to worrisome underperformer in a matter of fives games against the Hawks. Both Randle and the Knicks are expected to only get better, but the roster as it stands doesn’t have much of a ceiling beyond another first round exit. That’s why the Knicks’ offseason moves become vital in ensuring their middling squad takes the next step. Signing an All-Star player whose spent his entire career doing just that should be top priority.