Grading the 2022-23 Knicks season
With the 2022-23 Knicks season now in the books, it’s time to take stock and grade the performances of each member of the team.
Jalen Brunson: A+
What more could you have asked of the Knicks starting point guard? Consistency, leadership and tough shot-making when it mattered most only begins to sum up the Brunson experience.
Julius Randle: A-
Randle was on track to play all 82 before a late-season ankle injury, and to that point he was putting up another All-NBA effort. Unfortunately, his sporadic lapses in effort and emotional maturity still bother many fans, with the biggest complaint being his subpar postseason on that hobbled ankle.
RJ Barrett: B
Barrett’s regular season was very mixed, but a standout postseason cements this year as a big one for the fourth-year man. If he can continue that momentum and efficiency into next season, he’ll be a key piece in New York’s future contention.
Mitchell Robinson: A-
Robinson maximized his value this year as a stopper and menace on the offensive boards in 59 regular season games, then dominated the Cavaliers in round one. A rough Heat series keeps him from a perfect score, but it was an all-around win of a year for the big man.
Quentin Grimes: B+
Grimes came into this season confident and ready for the starter role, and once he stepped into it, he became a perfect fit. Improvements beyond catch-and-shoot threes helped, but many a quiet night and then a slightly disappointing offensive playoffs took some of the sheen off his sophomore season.
Immanuel Quickley: B+
As far as guys who made “the leap” this season, Quickley’s may have been the most timely and pivotal to this Knicks season. Unfortunately, he spent the better part of the early season and postseason really struggling, giving him things to sharpen up over the offseason.
Josh Hart: A-
Picked up at the trade deadline, Hart made an immediate impact and put this Knicks team in a higher gear. His reluctance to shoot put a cap on their offense in the second round, but until that point he was critical in New York’s success and showed little to complain about.
Obi Toppin: B
We saw Toppin grow even more comfortable this year, especially in Randle’s absence. However, the large majority of his season can be chalked up to coming in for six-minute stretches and popping a couple threes.
Isaiah Hartenstein: A
Another terrific signing this summer, Hartenstein got going after some early struggles, stepping up for an injured Robinson and even closing many games he was healthy for. His offensive dynamism gave the Knicks a different look at the five, and he was responsible for many of the season’s highlight stuffs at the rim.
Miles McBride: B+
McBride’s offense was once again here and there, but inserting his defense into a late rotation spot was key to unlocking this Knicks team. We didn’t see much of him after Hart arrived, but he could be a real piece of the future.
Jericho Sims: A-
Sims saw 52 games of action between Robinson’s injury and a two-big bench lineup Thibs liked including him in for a stretch. In that time he showed off fewer rookie mistakes and made a strong impact defensively and around the rim, suggesting a promising future.
Evan Fournier & Derrick Rose: N/A
These two were expunged from the rotation early on and the team took off without them. They’ll likely be in new jerseys next season.
Tom Thibodeau: B+
Like many of his players, Thibodeau underwent some growth this season despite already being considered an all-time great coach. He trusted his young guys more, made all the right adjustments in the Cleveland series and led his team to exceed expectations.
He doesn’t get an A as it took him a good bit of the season to narrow down the rotation to where it should be and for getting outclassed in the Heat series. Still, overall a year fans could be proud of.
Entire Team: A
The Knicks were projected to sniff 40 games and fight their way through the Play-In, instead avoiding the tournament and advancing to the second round. Multiple members of the young core took steps forward, while the stars leading the way played like stars.
This was a terrific year relative to expectations and could set the foundation for future contention. Teams now fear the Knicks, which is a franchise-redeeming win.