By Avi Wizwer
As the 2022-2023 season for the New York Knicks came to a close after winning their first playoff series in over two years against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the playoffs looked very promising for the team. Star point guards Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and newly acquired Josh Hart played extraordinarily. Knicks fans believed they could make a deep playoff run, winning three series 4-0.
As they faced off against a very dangerous Miami Heat team led by Jimmy Butler in the second round, the Knicks had their hands full with a great team that had a lot of depth to their lineup. As the series went on, you could see the playoff experience really becoming a factor for the Heat with veterans like Jimmy Butler, who had prior championship experience in his last NBA finals appearance in 2020, and Kyle Lowry, who won an NBA championship in 2019. The composure and poise of Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and the hero of the series, Gabe Vincent, were evident down to the stretch when the games mattered the most as they controlled the pace and tempo of the game, hit big shots, and did not let the pressure affect them.
The Knicks, on the other hand, struggled to score the ball, and failure to knock down open shots became the downfall of their season. Despite the efforts of the Knicks, they fell short of the Heat, losing the series 4-2 – a very disappointing ending to such a great season.
Going into the off-season, the Knicks needed to find someone who could really compliment their lineup, space the floor, play defense, and keep most, if not all, of their current players. With the signing of Donte DiVincenzo, which is a four-year, $50 million contract, the team is getting a great wing that can do just that. Spacing the floor, knocking down perimeter shots, and playing tenacious defense is what meets the Knicks’ needs. DiVincenzo averaged 9.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting 39.7% from three-point range last season with the Golden State Warriors.
The Knicks also let go of Obi Toppin to the Indiana Pacers for two future second-round picks. Toppin averaged 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 49% from the field and 32% from the three-point line over three seasons with the Knicks. As this is a key loss to the lineup, it remains to be seen if the team can adjust to his absence.
With the Knicks adding a piece in DiVincenzo, having Josh Hart opt into his player option as they give him another year with the team, and key players returning, the season is looking promising heading into the 2023-2024 season.
Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle should have another great year as it’ll be their second full season playing together. RJ Barrett will also contribute in a number of ways as many foresee him having a great season this upcoming year. It will be interesting to see how this team can adjust, and how much better they have become individually and as a team this upcoming season.