There are similarities between this 12 months’s Knicks and the model two years in the past.

Each groups entered the season with low expectations and had been resilient throughout tough stretches early within the 12 months.

They every proved their detractors flawed and loved surprisingly sturdy common seasons. 

There are variations, too. 

“I feel we’re a greater staff,” Julius Randle stated. “Extra proficient staff.” 

The 2020-21 staff completed the COVID-shortened season in fourth place within the Japanese Convention with a 41-31 file and a .569 profitable proportion.

This present group is profitable at a .591 clip via 66 video games with a 39-27 mark.

A fourth-place end is life like because the Knicks entered Monday one recreation behind the Cavaliers with 16 video games left. 

Julius Randle is assured the Knicks are higher than two years in the past.

The 2 rosters are very completely different.

This one is youthful with what appears like a a lot greater upside.

For example, Jalen Brunson is the purpose guard, giving the present model a significant edge on the all-and-important place.

Elfrid Payton began for the staff two years in the past, though Derrick Rose performed main minutes off the bench at level guard.

RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley are higher gamers than they had been two years in the past, and Mitchell Robinson is wholesome.

The rim-protecting 7-footer broke his foot and solely appeared in 31 video games that season. 

These Knicks are fifth in offensive ranking and seventh in NET ranking (factors outscoring the opposition by per 100 possessions).

The version two years in the past was twenty second and ninth, respectively. It was fourth in defensive ranking, giving it an edge over the present-day Knicks, who’re ranked 14th. 

Julius Randle celebrates during the Knicks' win over the Pelicans on Feb. 25.
Julius Randle celebrates through the Knicks’ win over the Pelicans on Feb. 25.
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The massive query is one which gained’t be answered for some time: Can these Knicks fare higher within the playoffs than their predecessors, who misplaced in 5 video games to the Hawks within the first spherical? 

“We’ll see. I can’t actually communicate on that but,” Randle stated. “We’re not within the playoffs but, so I don’t wish to communicate on that. However I positively suppose it’s a staff that day-after-day we’re taking the mandatory steps and getting higher for certain.” 

Randle was named the Japanese Convention Participant of the Week after main the Knicks to 4 wins and averaging 29.5 factors, 8.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists. 

Robinson performed a career-high 44 minutes in Sunday’s double-overtime win over the Celtics.

He was terrific within the 10 minutes of extra time, notching 4 rebounds and taking part in high quality protection.

Mitchell Robinson scores during the Knicks' win over the Celtics on March 5.
Mitchell Robinson scores through the Knicks’ win over the Celtics on March 5.
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He defended Al Horford’s potential game-winning 3-pointer on the buzzer of the second extra time effectively, no less than partly impacting the shot that got here up quick. 

“He has nice worth to clearly the entire group however significantly [to] his teammates, his coaches, as a result of he does a whole lot of the soiled work that it is advisable win,” coach Tom Thibodeau stated. 

The Knicks are 27-17 when Robinson performs and 12-10 with out him.