The New York Knicks are back in the playoffs for the first time in seven long years.
After years of being a laughingstock around the league, they have home-court advantage in the first-round.
New York is buzzing right now with their play and are so excited for their team on just making the playoffs.
Now that they are in, it is time to get to business.
The Knicks are currently playing the Atlanta Hawks this round and are hoping they can advance.
The Hawks ended up taking Game 1 this past weekend in a close effort.
The Knicks put up a great effort, but sadly fell just short from a victory.
But good news came Wednesday night as the Knicks took home a 101-92 win to even the series.
— NBA (@NBA) May 27, 2021
The Knicks have tied the series, but they are facing two major flaws that can hinder any chance of advancing.
2. Tom Thibodeau and His Minutes
The Knicks and head coach, Tom Thibodeau, have had a perfect relationship thus far.
That is usually the case with Thibs coached teams.
He is a tough and rugged coach that gets his team to compete and win.
However, he is very much old school in approach to minutes played for his players.
He is known for strict rotations and not being afraid to play guys until they can’t go anymore.
During his time with the Chicago Bulls, Thibs made Jimmy Butler play all 48 minutes in a preseason game.
Luol Deng was the high minute man on those scrappy Bulls teams until his body physically broke down.
The same can be said for Joakim Noah.
The fear is that he could possibly do the same with the Knicks.
Their All-Star, Julius Randle, averaged 37.6 minutes per game this season.
That number led the league by a full minute difference from second place.
Second year guard, RJ Barrett, was second on the team in minutes played at 34.9.
In Game 1 of this series, Derrick Rose played 38 total minutes off the bench.
He played 39 minutes in Game 2.
This is the same Rose that kept getting injured on Thibs’ Bulls teams last decade.
Coach Thibodeau is a hard-nosed guy, but the minutes can play into major fatigue throughout the playoffs.
1. Who is the Second Best Player After Randle?
Randle has been their guy all season.
In addition to making his very first All-Star team, he also won the Most Improved Player of the Year.
Randle is the face of Knicks basketball at the moment, and rightfully so.
He has improved so much and is taking the Knicks franchise to heights they haven’t seen in a long time.
However, there needs to be a guy that can help the man out.
Game 1 was a struggle for Randle, even though the Knicks were so close to a win.
That was because of a great performance by Alec Burks.
Julius Randle scored just 15 points in Game 1.
During the regular season, Randle scored 15 points or fewer a total of 10 times.
In the Knicks next game immediately following those 10 subpar efforts, Randle averaged:
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) May 25, 2021
The game Burks had is an outlier for his career.
He is a decent scorer, but not on the level that he was at in Game 1.
Rose is older and can have his flashes, but he can be hit or miss sometimes.
Luckily, he was able to score 26 points in the Game 2 win.
That was the high-mark for the Knicks, as Randle finished with 15 points.
Barrett might not be ready quite yet to be the Robin to Randle’s Batman.
It is hard for the Knicks if teams take Randle out of the equation.
They need to know who the second guy is to ease the load for their star player.
If it can be Rose all series, that would make this current flaw obsolete.