The New York Knicks Are… Winning?

That’s right. As of December 20, the New York Knicks hold the longest active winning streak in the NBA. The Knicks captured their seventh consecutive win on Sunday, beating the Indiana Pacers in a tight 109-106 road matchup. For Knicks fans, this is a glimpse of hope.

New York was about as mediocre as it can get to start off the 2022-23 season. Constantly hovering one or two games above or below .500, there hasn’t been a glaring issue. The Knicks are currently 13th in the NBA in offensive efficiency (112.6), ninth in defensive efficiency (110.8), and tenth in overall net rating (1.8).

Perhaps the biggest strength within this Knicks team is the fight they display every night. Gritty, nail-biting games simply come down to who wants it more, and a recent 128-120 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls captured the essence of this fight. With the Bulls scoring four straight points with under a minute left, they had all of the momentum swinging their way going into OT; not to mention, they were in Chicago on national television.

However, Jalen Brunson took care of business, and announced his arrival into Knicks stardom, breaking the ankles of Alex Caruso with a smooth crossover, and nailing the game-sealing three-pointer. The photo of him standing over Caruso says it all.

(Photo via @nyknicks on Twitter)

Brunson, the former-Mavericks guard, received skepticism going into the season. The Knicks signed the former Villanova standout to a four-year, $104 million deal over the summer, and fans saw this as another classic Knicks overpay. But the 6’2” floor general has proven doubters wrong so far, averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 30 games.

Speaking of doubters, about two months ago, Julius Randle was an outcast in New York City. Once dubbed “King Julius” while leading the Knicks to the playoffs in 2020-21, he was later scrutinized for his poor play during the 2021-22 season. Similar to Brunson, Randle is slowly but surely winning the fans of New York over (again), averaging 22.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. His work ethic and drive to be a better player and teammate in such a harsh media environment as the Big Apple captures the tough, blue-collar mentality of a true New Yorker.

The third star of this New York trio is RJ Barrett. Drafted third overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Barrett has been consistently improving his numbers year by year. He is undoubtedly a fan favorite, being a New York draftee and constantly bringing exceptional defense and attitude into the Knicks’ culture. This season, however, the Duke product started out sluggish, shooting a career-low 30% from three. He’s picked it up recently, averaging 19.4 points and 5.5 rebounds.

With young players like Quentin Grimes, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and Mitchell Robinson blossoming into their roles, head coach Tom Thibodeau has a lot to work with. Time will tell whether Thibodeau can retain his third head coaching job of his NBA career, as there is some backlash from fans about giving enough playing time to the young guys.

New York currently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference, hoping to retain a good enough seed that they won’t have to participate in the NBA Play-In Tournament. It’s a young, fun, hard-nosed team that may not win every game, but they’ll give it everything they have, and what’s not to love about that?

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Jed Katz is currently a Journalism student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from Bergen County, NJ, Katz was a writer and editor for the Northern Highlands Regional HS newspaper, as well as a sports anchor for the morning show. He's been invested in the game for years, both being a basketball junkie and playing as a 2-year varsity basketball player. Katz produces content surrounding the NBA, NCAA, and premier high school hoops.