The New York Knicks have been one of the surprises of the season. They have had a great regular season so far, and are significantly better than they have been in recent history.
Someone that deserves a lot of credit for how good the team is performing is their head coach, Tom Thibadeau.
Last year the Knicks were 12th in the Eastern Conference, this year they are fourth. Not many people had them making the playoffs, now we are discussing how dangerous they can be in the playoffs.
Thibadeau has changed the Knicks for the better in his first year in charge, and that all started with defense.
They allow the least points per game, 104.6, and also are ranked first on opponent field goal percentage, with their opponents averaging 38%.
The fact that the Knicks play defense at the level they do in the regular season, makes them a very dangerous team in the playoffs where the intensity of games goes up.
It's hard to keep up the level of defense Thibadeau has them playing at consistently, yet they do exactly that.
They are led by All-Star Julius Randle who is one of the favorites to win the Most Improved Player of the Year award.
Randle has taken his game to another level, and that has been one of the surprises of the season. He has been a good player for a while but not many expected him to produce a season like this.
He is averaging 24.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. That's a career-high in points, rebounds, and assists. He is also averaging the most field goals a game he ever has with 18.5.
This shows how important Randle has been to the Knicks, he does it all for the team. Another stat that shows his importance is his minutes per game.
He is averaging 37.4 minutes per game, his career-high by far. His second highest is only 32.5, which he averaged last year.
You also can't forget to mention the improvements he has made in his three-point shooting. He shot 27.7% from beyond the arc last year, whilst only averaging 3.6 threes a game.
This year he is averaging 5.4 three-point attempts a game whilst shooting 42.7%.
Unfortunately, they are also missing their best center to injury in Mitchel Robinson.
The Knicks are full of players that can change the momentum of a basketball game which is vital in playoffs.
RJ Barrett, the 2019 NBA draft third overall pick, is averaging 17.6 a game his year. He is capable of stepping up big scoring-wise when the team needs him.
Quickley has been in the conversation for the Rookie of the Year award this season, and deservedly so.
He is another weapon in the Knick's dangerous arsenal that can swing the momentum of a game whether it's hitting a big shot or creating his own shot in important moments.
Not much has to be said about the former MVP, Derrick Rose who continues to add value to whatever team he is in. He can have big scoring nights and is an experienced presence in the team.
The New York Knicks may not be seen to be as dangerous as the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, or the Brooklyn Nets.
However, they are definitely, a dangerous team capable of causing top team trouble in the playoffs.
They play great defense and have a great roster full of dangerous players who can change the tide of a game. They also have a great coach and dependable All-Star.
They have all the requirements to cause serious trouble in the playoffs. Watch out for the New York Knicks.