The 3 unsung heroes of the Knicks in 2022
They’ve managed to virtually stay afloat this season, as they’re now 23-24 and the Eastern Conference’s 11th seed. Everyone anticipated the Knicks to improve dramatically this season after making the playoffs the previous season, but their front office did not do a good job last year of going out and acquiring the star player that this club so urgently needs.
Although the Knicks lack a star player they can rely on every night, they do have some key role players and guys on their teams who may be considered unsung heroes.
Let’s take a look at the Knicks’ three most unsung heroes for the 2022 season.
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Knicks Unsung Heroes 2022
3. RJ Barrett
It’s difficult to call RJ Barrett, the third overall choice in the 2019 draft, an unsung hero, but he deserves more recognition for what he’s done for this team this season, especially in the last few weeks. Many Knicks fans have wanted him out of New York City, but they have failed to comprehend that he has truly embraced the New York City attitude, and it’s not easy going into Madison Square Garden at the age of 19 and playing the way he has for his first three years in the NBA.
Barrett has lived up to the expectations that the Knicks had for him, but there are still certain aspects of his game that he can work on, however, what the 21-year-old has accomplished this season is nothing short of impressive.
The Knicks definitely needed a star player to pair alongside Julius Randle coming into the season, and while RJ Barrett may not be a star, he will undoubtedly develop into a very good player in this league with star potential.
He’s averaging 17.2 points and over six rebounds per game while playing high-level defense.
2. Obi Toppin
Despite the fact that Obi Toppin only plays 15.7 minutes every night, which is clearly questionable to anybody who watches the Knicks, he has been great. In the few minutes he gets each night, he has performed at an above-average level. It’s unclear why he isn’t getting the minutes he deserves, but maybe, at some point in the future, coach Tom Thibodeau will make the right decision and give this youngster the 25-plus minutes each game he deserves.
When he is on the floor with the Knicks, he is known for lighting up the place with his insane dunks and knowing how to get Madison Square Garden rocking. He was expected to come in and be a part of this team’s future, but the coaching staff has not done a good job of enabling him to grow, and as a result, he is currently not as good as he could be. He has a shot to be one of the top players under 25 in the NBA if he receives 25 to 30 minutes each game. He’s a force with the ball underneath the basket and has crazy athleticism for a guy with his size.
- Alec Burks
Alec Burks is one of those veterans who has been around for a long time and continues to improve each season.
He hasn’t done anything particularly remarkable for this team during the season, but he is shooting about 40% on nearly five three-point tries per game. Burks is averaging 11.5 points per game this season and has started nearly half of the Knicks’ games. Burks is one of those guys that just goes out there and gives you exactly what you expect. When he’s on the floor, he’s not going to do anything crazy, but he will always get the job done and provide a team with serviceable minutes.
The Knicks have been hitting the three-point shot at about league average this season, but it would be considerably lower if they didn’t have a player like Alec Burks on their roster since they don’t have a lot of players who can spread the floor at a high-level.
With the trade deadline approaching, it wouldn’t be surprising if any of these players were dealt. It would be controversial if they chose to trade RJ Barrett, but there have been rumors that he might be on the move if they do get the proper return back.
The Knicks are almost certainly going to trade Obi Toppin since they aren’t even providing him the minutes he deserves. Coach Tom Thibodeau is definitely seeing something behind the scenes that makes him hesitant to put him on the floor for the minutes he deserves each week.