NBA Eastern Conference Team Preview – New York Knicks

October 19, 2023

Tony Camino

How the Cavs Match Up Against the New York Knicks

Last season, the Cavs were completely outsized and outplayed for five games in the playoffs against the New York Knicks. Luckily, the Cavs had a better off-season and made more impactful moves. The Knicks have enough talent on the roster to compete in the Eastern Conference, but they don’t appear to be threatening the top tier at the moment.

Projected Rotation

Guards: Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Donte DiVincenzo, Quentin Grimes

Wings: RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Josh Hart

Bigs: Mitchell Robinson, Isaiah Hartenstein

The biggest offseason change for the Knicks is adding Donte DiVincenzo from the Golden State Warriors. DiVincenzo is yet another Villanova Wildcat on that squad who provides the shooting the Knicks desperately need. Jalen Brunson took his game to another level last season and is ready to take the challenge of leading this team again this season. Julius Randle continues to improve during the regular season but tends to become a liability once the playoffs come around.

The big men inside, Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein are back after a stellar series against the Cavs. The only real route for this Knicks team to threaten as a real contender this season would be the emergence of RJ Barrett or Randle to perform consistently in the postseason. Without either of those, I don’t see this team being a top contender in the East.

How do they match up with the Cavs?

The postseason showed the true interior dominance the Knicks had, along with how much the spacing really killed the Cavs offensively. While Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland weren’t amazing in the playoffs, the lack of spacing with a packed paint made it virtually impossible to get a one-on-one situation with no help. The additions of Georges Niang and Max Strus will allow the Cavs to use more versatile lineups to find shooting without sacrificing size.

The biggest question mark outside of the interior big men is what the Cavs’ answer will be for Brunson, as they really struggled to find an answer to him without losing shooting. Cedi Osman saw plenty of chances to space the floor, but Brunson made light work of him, and Isaac Okoro’s spacing made life difficult for the guards. Strus doesn’t have to be a lockdown defender on Brunson, but if he can simply hold his own when they get switched, then the Cavs should be fine.

The internal improvements from the young Cavs’ core, along with the additions of shooters this offseason, should allow the Cavs to overtake the Knicks this season. Their interior big men are going to be difficult to contain, but the learning experience of the playoffs can help Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen prepare for what’s to come. The Knicks are going to be a playoff team, but they’re a second-round exit at best.

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