This week, fans of the New York Knicks start the season with hope and optimism for the first time in years. It is an amazing feeling knowing that our beloved Knicks have a chance to make the playoffs in back-to-back years, the first since the 2011 & 2012 seasons. This week, the Knicks open their season against an improved Boston Celtics team that now features free-agent point guard Dennis Shroeder. The Celtics are still without Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, who are both out due to covid-protocol. This may give the Knicks an easy path to their first regular-season win.
Evan Fournier will play against the team that decided not to re-sign him, then traded him at the deadline last season. Fournier may have a little extra motivation in the game based on that. Fournier has not had a stellar pre-season. He has shot 36% from the field and 30% from 3-point range. This is off his averages of 45% and 41% totals of last season.
The Knicks get back defensive dynamo Mitchell Robinson, who missed most of last season with a string of injuries. Robinson gives the Knicks what coach Tom Thibodeau loves: a defensive rim presence that can hit the offensive and defensive boards. Robinson saw game action Saturday against the Pistons, his first since he injured his foot in March of last season. However, he admitted that he would need to work more on his conditioning and finishing at the rim before being 100% back to form.
Robinson also showed his new bulk, putting on at least 15-20 lbs of muscle, which should help him and the Knicks deal with players like the Hawks’ Clint Capella. Capella had at least 12 rebounds per game in the playoff series against the Knicks. However, the combination of Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel did not have the size or strength to contend with Capella. Robinson’s new bulk should also help him against Joel Emiid, who has owned the Knicks throughout his career.
After the Celtics, the Knicks will be away and at home to face the Orlando Magic— the team that traded away Fournier after seven seasons. Again, more fuel for Fournier to start the season with a little more fire. After the two games against the Magic, the Knicks finish the week with a marquee matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, who have issues with Ben Simmons drama unraveling.
Knicks vs. Celtics – The first sold-out crowd in Madison Square Garden in how many years? Knicks squeak by. Win
Knicks at Magic- Loss
Knicks vs. Magic- Win
Knicks vs. 76ers – Loss
The Knicks pick off their lower opponents, start the season strong and go either 2-2 or 3-1 to start the season!