Did the New York Knicks Have a Successful Season Despite a First Round Exit?

Published 06/03/2021, 6:30 PM EDT
Feb 15, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks’ Julius Randle (30) is congratulated by teammates Taj Gibson (67) and Immanuel Quickley (5) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jason DeCrow/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks ended their wait for the playoffs this season. But sadly, they were not able to go beyond the first-round. The Atlanta Hawks proved to be too good for them, handing them an early exit after just five games. So does it still mean that this was a successful season for the Knicks?

Yes, it does. Let’s look at three reasons why the 2020-21 season was still a success for the first-round exit Knicks.

Emergence of players who can build the new Knicks dynasty


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Over the last few years, the Knicks have had multiple players who have been a bad fit. Not many players were able to stick on for long. But in this current crop of players, there are many who can help the Knickerbockers build a new dynasty.

Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Mitchell Robinson look ready to be the new stars of New York. They have shown promise and have also become fan favorites with their performances this season. The Knicks should try to hold on to them for as long as possible and hope they can bring them back to their glory days.

The right coach is in charge

The Knicks started the 2020-21 season by appointing Tom Thibodeau as their head coach. He is their eighth head coach in the last ten years, showing how unstable the job is. But under Thibodeau, the players have been amazing this season. Despite their postseason failures, their regular season performance showed a lot of promise.

If the Knicks can continue to keep their faith in Thibs and give him the right players, he can definitely help the franchise make a big turnaround.


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Feb 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks speaks with Julius Randle #30 during the game against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on February 07, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Mike Stobe/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks are not a joke anymore


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While there are many unsuccessful teams in the league, nobody has been on the end of more jokes than the Knicks. They have been ridiculed endlessly for each failure, but all that has ceased this season. Their solid displays throughout the season have not only earned respect from their own fans but also across the league.

Finishing fourth in the East, ahead of teams like the Heat and Celtics, was a commendable feat. And it has helped the franchise gain the respect it commanded once.

The lack of a deep postseason run should not be the only determining factor in assessing the season for the Knicks. It was indeed a successful season for them.


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May 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau (left) and Julius Randle (30) react after Randle fouled out of the game against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in game four in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports



Aaron Mathew

1689 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.