3 bold Knicks predictions for rest of 2022-23 season

Feb 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the game against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports / Feb 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the game against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks are riding high from All-Star Weekend, winners of five of their past six games and widely represented in Salt Lake City. Here are three bold predictions for their home stretch of the season.

Knicks avoid play-in round

Some may argue this isn’t a bold prediction, but nothing is certain in today’s NBA. New York has been battling for position all season and is currently missing the play-in cutoff by only half a game.

They have three things working for them. The Nets will have to keep their 2.5-game lead on the seventh seed without their stars, the Heat are the only other contender for the top six in close range and the Knicks have been playing exceptionally well.

Since New York’s rotation change in early December, they’ve had the sixth-best point differential in the league, going 23-14 for a 50-win pace over a full season. With Josh Hart now in the picture, there’s little reason to think they’ll slow down.

The likely threats are going to be some kind of self-implosion, hopefully off the table, and the likes of Atlanta, Washington and Toronto. All three need to make up a 3.5-plus-game deficit, no easy feat, but don’t discount Brooklyn as a possible annoyance down the stretch as well.

Feb 13, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) reacts after a three point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 13, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) reacts after a three point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Immanuel Quickley will win Sixth Man of the Year

In his past 30 games, Quickley has averaged 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists on 47.8% shooting from the field and 39.1% from 3, turning around a slow start to the season. He’s been pivotal to the Knicks’ winning ways, especially on the defensive end as an elite-level pest.

His performance is giving him a real case for the Sixth Man of the Year award. The last Knick to win it was JR Smith in 2012-13.

Quickley will face stiff competition. The Celtics’ Malcolm Brogdon is a favorite but plays fewer minutes and scores less efficiently from two-point range.

Norman Powell of the Clippers has a strong case via 17 points a night. But there’s still plenty of time for Quickley to continue building his averages and the Knicks their wins to give him a real chance at the honor.

Feb 10, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard De'Anthony Melton (8) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 10, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard De’Anthony Melton (8) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports / © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks win a first-round series

If the first bold prediction comes true, New York will face off against the Philadelphia 76ers or Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks have shown the ability to beat both, and a general competence and peskiness that suggests they’ll be a tough playoff out.

The talent may not be on New York’s side, but Philly has a tendency to disappoint in the postseason, and Cleveland has yet to be tested in a full series with this core. Meanwhile, the Knicks are sure to be hungry after their 2021 five game dismissal, now with a proven playoff monster in Jalen Brunson.


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