Last season, the New York Knicks surprised many around the league when they secured the four-seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 2013, behind All-Star Julius Randle and a resurgent Madison Square Garden crowd.
But New York’s postseason run was disappointing, as the team fell in the first round, losing in five games to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Knicks have plenty to build upon, with Randle winning the league’s Most Improved Player award and head coach Tom Thibodeau earning Coach of the Year honors in his first season in New York.
That said, New York’s front office opted to augment the roster for the 2021-22 season, adding talent in hopes that the team will make a run to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years.
Busy Offseason In The Big Apple
Fat Joe in a Kemba Walker Knicks jersey next to Kemba Walker with a Knicks jersey and Evan Fournier pic.twitter.com/pYKrzcxUDh
— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) August 17, 2021
In the playoffs last season, the Knicks struggled to keep pace with Atlanta’s high-octane offense.
These two players add a much-needed scoring punch.
Injuries marred Walker’s run with the Boston Celtics, but the New York-native remains just two years removed from an All-Star berth.
He provides Randle with the perfect pick-and-roll partner, given his ability to shoot.
Fournier also brings a consistent three-point shot to Madison Square Garden to space the floor around Randle.
The Knicks addressed depth by re-signing several players that helped spur last season’s postseason run.
Although the team lost out on retaining Reggie Bullock, this free agent spending spree solidified the Knicks as a playoff contender.
Thibodeau now needs to mete out the minutes for this roster which suddenly sports at least 10 players capable of playing more than 20 minutes per game.
Gibson Most Likely To Ride The Bench
“Even if it's (less) money, money doesn't move me. I just wanted to be a Knick.”
– Taj Gibson on returning to the Knicks pic.twitter.com/gQVP3Bs9DX
— Big Knick Energy (@BigKnickEnergy_) August 31, 2021
Reports surfaced that Taj Gibson spoke with several teams in free agency, but opted to re-sign in New York despite potentially higher paydays elsewhere.
Gibson ultimately re-signed with the Knicks on a two-year deal worth $10.1 million.
The team holds an option for the second year of that deal.
Gibson wanted to remain a Knick and continue his career with Thibodeau, who he played under with the Chicago Bulls.
Entering his 13th NBA season, Gibson made just three starts last season, but played a significant role off the bench.
Gibson started three of the five games in the playoffs, and saw a significant uptick in minutes.
Although mostly a reserve last season, Gibson played more than he did the year before, his first in New York.
He posted a career-low 5.4 points per game, but grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game and provided steady interior defense.
But as Mitchell Robinson returns from injury, and Noel settles into the backup center role, opportunities for Gibson seem sparse.
Randle will play the lion’s share of minutes at the power forward, with Toppin as his primary backup.
This leaves Gibson as the third big off the bench in New York and seems to indicate the 36-year-old will see a significant reduction in minutes played.