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'23-'24 Knicks season tipoff

Off we go into the throngs of the NBA season. And you know what that means? It means Knicks basketball is back. There are expectations for this team to be a top franchise in the Eastern Conference at seasons end, can they do it?

"New York, we here." That was the rallying cry of the 2020-21 New York Knicks, a team that ended up breaking close to a 10 year playoff drought on the backs of guys like Julius Randle and, at the time, rookie Immanuel Quickley.

After a very successful '22-'23 season and a playoff series win which also broke a 10 year drought (They just keep reaching these milestones eh?), the Knicks are ready to run it back. What will be the Knicks' rallying cry this year? Will Donte DiVincenzo's 'Michael Jordan of Delaware' nickname - made famous by his former college coach Jay Wright - catch on? Or will Sidetalk NYC grab some footage of New York's finest outside of the Garden after opening night similar to '21-'22?

Does Spiderman in timbs and a Yankee hat make an appearance this season? I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest, and that is what makes New York great. When the Knicks are playing, the whole city comes together for one collective goal. To win. And the Knicks are expected to do a whole lot of winning this season as expectations are the highest they have been in a very long time.

Who Stands Out?

Everyone - aside from Obi Toppin - are ready to run it back for '23-'24. Donte DiVincenzo was added in the offseason and will immediately help a team that is looking to reach 50 wins or more this season. DiVincenzo is a 3 and D guy, has an NBA championship under his belt (2021 with the Bucks), and shot 39.7% from 3PT last season as a member of the Warriors.

Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle are All-Star caliber players that now have a full season and summer under their belts together. When those two are on, there is no stopping this team. Randle is a two time All-Star and is now healthy after having surgery to address the nagging ankle sprains that clearly effected him last year, especially in the playoffs. Brunson was snubbed of an All-Star spot and he let the league know it last season. The Knicks finally found their point guard of the future and have him under contract on a very team friendly deal (4 years, $104 million). His '22-'23 season was by far the best season of his career and he put Knicks fans into a frenzy night-in and night-out. Just take a glimpse at some of his production from last year. The numbers tell all:

  • 24 PPG

  • 6.2 AST/G

  • 41% 3PT

Those three stats above were career highs for Brunson. Expect him to take another step in the direction of All-NBA this year.

Who Else?

RJ Barrett will look to take another step in his fifth year. He received an extension prior to the '22-'23 season and the Knicks believe in their former #3 overall pick. Barrett is still only 23, but I think all Knicks fans would be more than satisfied if he can take the next step as a shooter - especially from 3 PT range - and on the defensive end.

Immanuel Quickley will be playing for a big payday next summer, whether it comes from the Knicks or another team we will have to wait and see. The Knicks decided to hold off on extending him after the deadline to reach an agreement passed on Monday. Knicks fans know what Quick can do, and last year's breakout campaign should translate over into this season. Especially since Quickley confirmed that he added 10 pounds to his frame, as he made it a focus on building strength over the summer.

Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein are arguably one of the better center duos in the league. Two guys that can hold down the middle and play defense-first basketball? That is a Tom Thibodeau fever dream. Collectively, they averaged 15.9 TRB (total rebounds) and 2.6 BLK (blocks) in '22-'23 and both are ready to bring that force back for another season.

Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes will be relied on heavily. Hart came over in a trade with the Blazers at the deadline last year and immediately made an impact. He averaged 10.2 PPG, shot 58.6% from the field and was scorching hot from three shooting 51.9% in 25 games. He's a force on the defensive end too and added a spark during the playoffs. Grimes, like RJ, is a young player looking to take that added step as a shooter. He's proven his chops as a defender but I'm sure the Knicks would like to see him take his game on the defensive end to the next level. Year 3 for Grimes will be a massive prove it year for him. Will he be a key piece for the Knicks moving forward or will we begin to hear trade murmurs with his name attached?

All that said, Knicks basketball is back. The city is excited and ready to go all-in for this squad. The youngins proved they can compete with the big dogs of the East last season, and are ready to do it again in '23-'24.

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