2020-21 New York Knicks

I’m not here to hate. I’m actually here to celebrate.

Jim Rome
March 01, 2021 - 10:41 am
Julius Randle

USA Today

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It is March 1st and I have a message for the world: break up the New York Knicks. Break up the red hot New York Knicks.

Again, it is March 1st , two-thousand-twenty-one A.D., and the New York Knicks are above .500. And if you think that isn’t big news, you’re wrong.

According to The Athletic, this is the third time in 20 years they’ve had a winning record after 35 games. Think about that – the third bleeping time in two decades. And that’s one of the proudest franchises not just in NBA but in professional sports. That’s how bleak things have been. That’s how crappy they’ve been. As a team. And as an organization..

So if you’re a Knicks fan right now, you best celebrate having a winning record. Because that doesn’t happen very often. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen again. 

Because this is the first time the Knicks have been above .500 this late in the year since 2013.

Those were the Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and JR Smith Knicks. And if it feels like that’s ancient history, it’s because it is.

Step aside, Melo. Take a seat, STAT. And do what you do, JR. Because there are some new New York Knicks in town.

Julius Randle is a certified All-Star and showed that again last night in the win over Detroit.

I could run one highlight of him after another. He is that good. And his game has improved so much. Check this quote from teammate Nerlens Noel: “I remember playing against him last year and years before and right now, it’s just a different confidence. It’s All-Star, simply put. He shoots the ball with ultra confidence. Tonight he was in his bag with the mid-range. I think that’s taken a real step forward to be the leader of this team.”

Randle puts the team on his back on a nightly basis. But it’s not just Randle. Other guys are stepping up. Derrick Rose had 14 and 5 last night against his old team.

RJ Barrett is showing flashes.

And the Big Apple has fallen quickly fallen in love with Immanuel Quickley – HEYOOOOOOOO

And this crew will dee you up.

Last night’s performance means the team was now second in the league in defensive efficiency. He’s not going to be happy with that: "Number one, I'm never happy." 

They’ve won three straight and seven of nine. And I am not here to say that those wins have come over the Wizards, Rockets, Hawks, Timberwolves, Kings, Pacers and Pistons. And that crew doesn’t have a winning record among them. But doesn’t matter. I’m not here to crash your party, Knicks fans. Or wreck it.  In fact, I’m here to give you some bleeping credit, I mean for real.

Because if the season ended right now, this is a playoff team. A playoff team. The New York Knicks would be in the playoffs. After all those years of dysfunction, and humiliation. 

After swinging and missing on every single big free agent for the last few years, after getting your hopes up in the draft lottery only to get kicked in the package over and over again, after clanking one draft pick after another, after having an owner who’s more committed to his awful blues band than his equally awful basketball team, after being the butt of jokes, every joke: after all that, these guys actually look okay. And I have no problem saying it. Credit where credit is due. They’ve actually earned some. 

In fact, They look better than okay. They’re actually pretty cool. They are tough as hell, they get after you on defense, and they make life miserable for opponents. I don’t want to get crazy with it, but this Knicks team feels like the Knicks teams of the 1990s.

The team that everyone laughed at is now laughing. And it’s a deep, throaty, Tom Thibodeau laugh

Again, the Knicks are over .500 right now. And if you think I’m being patronizing, if you think I’m mocking the Knicks by giving them a golf clap for being barely above average, you better check yourself.

Because the Knicks are over .500 in March. And you know who’s not? The Boston Celtics. The 2020 Eastern Conference Champs, the Miami Heat. The 2019 NBA champs, the Toronto Raptors.

The New Orleans Pelicans got Zion Williamson, the guy Knicks fans believed they were owed, but they aren’t above .500. But the New York Knicks are. 

The New York Knicks have the fourth best record in the East. I would ask the question: are the Knicks actually that good? But I know I don’t have to ask.

Because I know Knicks fans already know the answer. They were partying in the streets after the Knicks got to .500 with their win over the Pacers on Saturday.

They were celebrating like that after just reaching .500? And then you chase that with going over .500 last night? Look the hell out.

As Spike Lee told Marc Stein: “I see orange-and-blue skies again. I’m very, very encouraged.”

The only thing that sucks about this season for the Knicks is the fact that the pandemic is preventing the Garden from being packed every night. Because the Mecca deserves to be packed again, it deserves to be rocking again, for the Knicks and not for their opponents. It deserves to get some new banners up in the rafters and I’m talking about ones for basketball, not for Billy Joel concerts.

So I’m not here to hate. I’m actually here to celebrate.

This crew is on track for a playoff spot for just the fifth time in the 20 years of James Dolan’s ownership reign. And all I can say to that is: Go New York Go New York Go!