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New York Knicks: 4 bold predictions for the 2021-22 NBA season

Knicks

The New York Knicks shocked the basketball world last season. The Eastern Conference franchise not only reached the postseason but actually managed to secure a No. 4 seed.

While the Atlanta Hawks, the fifth-seeded team in the Eastern Conference in 2021, ultimately took care of the Knicks in just five games en route to the Eastern Conference finals, New York won a postseason game at home in the world-famous Madison Square Garden, which is definitely not something fans expected to see so quickly.

However, head coach Tom Thibodeau was immediately able to right the ship in the “Big Apple” as the Knicks were legitimately a rock solid, two-way team last season.

As impressive as last season was, the Knicks might even be a little bit better this time around. New York was able to add a few more key players to the mix: veteran point guard Kemba Walker and seasoned shooting guard Evan Fournier.

With Thibodeau and company back for another round of hard-fought and tireless basketball, the Knicks could once again surprise a few folks with even more success in 2021-22. Sustained success in New York? It’s more than possible…

New York Knicks will win a playoff series

The New York Knicks finished the 2020-21 regular season as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Easily the most surprising success story in the NBA last season, the Knicks will up the ante yet again this time around.

After reaching the postseason and winning just one game against the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, another success story from a season ago, the Knicks will surely return to the playoffs in 2021-22 and will win a playoff series.

Although the Eastern Conference might be a bit deeper than a season ago, the Knicks will finish with at least the fifth-best record in the group en route to a favorable matchup in the opening round.

Tom Thibodeau will earn NBA Coach of the Year honors

Thanks to yet another memorable performance from his New York Knickerbockers, head coach Tom Thibodeau will be named the NBA Coach of the Year. Already one of the more likable and more intense coaches patrolling the sidelines, Thibodeau’s defense-first approach will lead to consecutive successful seasons for the Knicks; he has arguably been dealt an even better team this year.

If the Knicks can finish among the top four teams in the Eastern Conference while winning more than 50 games, Thibodeau will come home with the hardware in 2022.

R.J. Barrett will take a massive leap in third NBA campaign

The New York Knicks currently employ a slew of talented players like power forward Julius Randle, center Mitchell Robinson, point guard Kemba Walker, shooting guard Evan Fournier and a few others. However, it can be argued that third-year shooting guard RJ Barrett is the most talented among them all.

Barrett, who is still just 21 years old, is only getting better as his NBA tenure progresses with his second season being his best to date. Barrett will still make a massive leap in his third season, though; he is now the true No. 2 behind the aforementioned Randle. Not only will Barrett come to play on offense but his defensive mindset will be intense under the direction of Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. The former Duke Blue Devils standout will now be asked to guard the opposition’s best swingmen. Barrett has been abundantly clear all offseason that his defense will improve; he will serve as a key cog for Thibodeau and his prolific offensive style will only improve.

Julius Randle will have yet another career year

Veteran NBA power forward Julius Randle is currently gearing up for his third go-round as a member of the Knicks.

After a decent first year in the “Big Apple,” Randle made massive and unprecedented strides for an upstart Knicks team in 2020-21 as the seasoned big man absolutely took over for New York this past season. Averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and an even six assists across 71 regular season appearances and starts for the Knicks in 2020-21, Randle set single-season career-high marks in virtually every major category en route to even getting some consideration for league MVP honors.

Randle did ultimately walk away with the hardware as the NBA’s Most Improved Player. He will once again take the Knicks to new heights in 2021-22 while also posting even more ridiculous numbers on an individual level as well. Randle, by being able to stack together consecutive elite-level seasons, would send a very strong message about his individual staying power in the NBA. More than that, he would enable his team to continue to thrive.