The New York Knicks are the hottest team in the league, having won a league-best eighth consecutive game. While the feat is worth celebrating, especially since it has given the squad a boost in the standings, Jalen Brunson is apparently not content. The newcomer expressed confidence that the Knicks can continue winning, stating they still have "a lot more to prove."
How are the Knicks winner of eight straight?
When New York started the season 10-13, many people were quick to say that the organization had to enact some changes, including firing Tom Thibodeau and trading Julius Randle, among others. Changes were indeed made, but they weren't as drastic as what the critics suggested.
Coach Thibs went out of character to introduce rotation changes that have actually proven effective. Gone are defensive sieves Cam Reddish, Obi Toppin, and Derrick Rose from the rotation. Consequently, more minutes have been given to Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, and Immanuel Quickley. What has resulted is elite team defense.
Since the Knicks' win streak started, they have ranked second in points allowed per possession in the Association. But the offense didn't sputter, as New York has ranked third in points made per possession during that span.
Perhaps the Knicks were also aided by a relatively soft schedule, as some of the competition they had faced during the streak were missing key players. It's worth noting, however, that this season, we've witnessed shorthanded squads beat completely healthy opponents. So, New York's hot streak is definitely the real deal.
Can they sustain the streak?
A question now is if the Knickerbockers can maintain their winning ways like Brunson foretold. It certainly isn't difficult to see them continue the streak until the end of the year, as five of their remaining matchups in 2022 are against teams below .500. The only exemption is the Philadelphia 76ers, although New York will be facing them in front of their home crowd.
It will be interesting to watch if one of the most valuable franchises in the league has turned things around or if this is just a phase. If it is the former, then the Knicks have a good opportunity to appear in the playoffs for only the second time in the last 10 seasons.