The New York Knicks 2022-23 season begins against Memphis Grizzlies on October 19. As one of the most important teams in the NBA, there is no shortage of Knicks predictions for the 2022-23 NBA season, so here are our bold Knicks 2022-23 season predictions.
The Knicks has an eventful offseason, although they didn’t make the splash moves that some fans and media expected. The team traded out of its No. 11 draft spot this year and didn’t pull the trigger on a trade to bring hometown hero Donovan Mitchell back to the NYC area.
New York did get Jalen Brunson to come over from the Dallas Mavericks, although the league slapped them with a tampering investigation for their efforts. In other offseason news, the team extended RJ Barrett and let key 2021-22 role players Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, and Taj Gibson go.
As we head into the Knicks 2022-23 season, the organization is a franchise on the brink. Are they a young team on the come-up? Or are they still the perpetually rebuilding but never rebuilt Knicks? These three bold Knicks 2022-23 predictions will help reveal the answers to those questions.
*Watch NBA games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)*
3. The Knicks will fire Tom Thibodeau after missing the playoffs again
There are, without a doubt, six better teams in the East than the Knicks. Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Boston, Miami, and Cleveland are all more talented than the Knicks this year. Toronto, Atlanta, and Chicago are also on par or possibly slightly better than New York, too, depending on how things shake out.
This means, at best, the Knicks will be fighting for a play-in spot and will have to win one or two high-pressure games just to get to a postseason series.
With Tom Thibodeau in his third season and his trademarked team burnout already seemed on display last season.
The Knicks will end the season focused on youth (more on that below), and Thibs isn’t the coach to take that young group into the future. There’s a strong chance the Knicks brain trust jettisons Thibodeau during the season, but the bold Knicks prediction here isn’t outing a timetable on it, it’s just noting that it will happen before next season.
2. Julius Randle will not finish the 2022-23 NBA season with the Knicks
After an All-Star contract year in 2020-21, Julius Randle’s numbers dropped across the board in 2021-22. His points (-4.0), rebounds (-0.3), and assists (-0.9) per game were all down last season, which was a primary reason the Knicks missed the playoffs.
More concerning, though, is how his inefficient (and team-leading) 35.4 minutes per game impeded the development of players like Obi Toppin and Cam Reddish.
Randle will not be easy to trade, with three years, a player option, and a little over $100 million guaranteed.
However, the 2022-23 NBA season will be different than many others. With Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson headlining a deep and talented 2023 NBA Draft, more teams will be tanking at the trade deadline than in years past, and the 2023 trade deadline should be an extremely active one.
Whether the Knicks package him with one of their future first-round picks just to get him off or trade him for 50 cents on the dollar to a contender remains to be seen. Either way, though, unless Randle has a miracle season and re-finds his All-Star form, he won’t be wearing blue and orange when the Knicks 2022-23 season comes to an end.
1. RJ Barrett will have a breakout season
Armed with a fresh four-year $120 million contract extension, RJ Barrett is now the franchise player heading into the Knicks 2022-23 season.
Last season, Barrett averaged 20.0 points, 3.0 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game. However, his 3-point percentage dropped dramatically from 40.1% to 34.2% as his long-range attempts went from 4.3 per game to 5.8.
As noted above, the Knicks will reach a fork in the road at some point this season and, armed with multiple draft picks will decide to focus on developing the youth for the future. That’s when Barrett’s usage rate should skyrocket from 27.6% into at least the high 20s (where Julius Randle was last season) or possibly into the 30s, where most NBA superstars reside.
RJ Barrett's been efficient in preseason so far 🎯 pic.twitter.com/PxH66Xtanh
— KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) October 13, 2022
At that point, it becomes a sink-or-swim season for Barrett.
The Knicks will give the former Duke Blue Devil the keys to the car and see if he can drive it. With complementary talent around him, like Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quinten Grimes, and Mitchell Robinson, he should be able to take off.
The bold Knicks 2022-23 prediction is that Barrett will have a breakout season with the way things play out. And Knicks fans better hope this is true. Because if he doesn’t, the rebuild will be much longer and more painful than expected.