Knicks Bold Predictions Ahead of 2022-23 NBA Season

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 22, 2022

Knicks Bold Predictions Ahead of 2022-23 NBA Season

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    ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 15:  RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks reacts after a dunk by Mitchell Robinson #23 against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at State Farm Arena on January 15, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The New York Knicks are always worth watching—for better or worse—and that's as true as ever with the 2022-23 NBA season approaching.

    Collectively, they're out to erase the memories of a rough 2021-22 campaign. Individually, there are players like Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson trying to prove they're worth the mega-money deals they inked this summer, plus there are a host of prospects looking to gain traction early in their careers.

    The Knicks just might be a mess, but they could also prove to be a pesky competitor in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

    To get a sense of what this squad could accomplish, let's lay out three bold predictions for the season ahead.

Knicks Send 2 to All-Star Game

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 24: Jalen Brunson #13 of the Dallas Mavericks interviews after Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals  on May 24, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

    The Knicks haven't had multiple All-Stars since Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler scored spots in the 2013 game. This group has a chance to snap that drought.

    Now, New York needs to achieve a significant amount of success for this to happen, since bottom-feeders are never well-represented at the world's greatest pickup game. If the team meshes early and often, though, that could open the door for two players to earn an invite.

    Julius Randle is the most likely candidate for a spot, if only because he's just a single season removed from getting the nod. Even last season, when his numbers dipped across the board, he still had star-caliber counting categories with 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

    As for the second invitation, that's likely to land with either RJ Barrett or Jalen Brunson. The former paired a 20-point scoring average with the best defense of his career last season, while the latter engineered a breakout of his own. Both should also have ample attention on them after signing huge contracts this offseason.

Mitchell Robinson Makes All-Defensive Team

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 30: Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks in action against the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Charlotte Hornets defeated the New York Knicks 125-114. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Mitchell Robinson is physically gifted even by the NBA's larger-than-life standards.

    For a 7-footer who tips the scales at 240 pounds, he boasts impressive mobility and a whole lot of bounce. When he's healthy and dialed in, those natural gifts have allowed him to serve as an intimidating paint presence.

    Injuries have held the 24-year-old back in the past, though. Inconsistent play has done the same. Last season, his shortcomings cut into his playing time (25.7 minutes per outing, down from 27.5 the year prior), and he wound up posting the worst defensive box plus/minus of his career (1.2, per Basketball-Reference).

    He did, however, play a career-high 72 games, so maybe he has put his health concerns behind him. He also got paid this summer, so perhaps he'll be more comfortable and secure in his spot than ever.

    Tack on the awareness that comes from having spent four seasons in the league and all of the defensive tips passed down by Knicks skipper Tom Thibodeau, and the stars could be aligning for Robinson to snag his first All-Defensive honor.

New York Skips Play-In Tournament, Snags Postseason Spot

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 27: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks talks to Head Coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on February 27, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    As frustrating as the 2021-22 campaign must have been for Knicks fans, the team wasn't disastrously bad. It wound up 19th in both winning percentage and net rating, per NBA.com, which isn't ideal but isn't cellar-dwelling stuff, either.

    New York needed to fortify its point guard position and seemingly did so with Brunson. The frontcourt grew more dynamic with the addition of Isaiah Hartenstein. The entire prospect collection should be improved after another offseason of development.

    In other words, the Knicks weren't near the bottom of the pack and have a lot of different avenues for upward mobility.

    If they catch enough breaks, they could not only return to the playoffs but also do so with a top-six seed that skirts them past the play-in tournament.

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