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The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

The New York Knicks and the Endless Journey Towards Greatness

One must imagine that the Knicks players are happy in the postseason.
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The Knicks rebuild has resulted in an historically strong squad. (Photo Credit: Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

In their game two win against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Knicks fans began to chant expletives at a familiar face. That face was Reggie Miller’s, who had immortalized his rivalry with the Knicks just twenty years earlier. In game 5 of the 1994 conference, Miller had brought his hands up to his neck in a devastating win against the Knicks to send them home. Present day, it seemed like all was finally right with the world as the Knicks took their revenge. The Pacers-Knicks series of 2024, however, would end in the now-predictable ending: a Knicks blowout loss in game 7.

Despite the familiar end, this Knicks squad has changed in powerful ways. Led by their New York hero, Jalen Brunson, the Knicks rose from 5th seed in 2023 to 2nd seeded in 2024. Some could point to the endlessly injured Eastern conference as evidence of that growth, but there was certainly more at play back in the Big Apple. As now thousands of think-pieces have called it, the Knicks were charged up by the power of friendship this time around. 

That friendship really stems from 3 of their core 7 role players: Donte Divencenzo, Josh Hart, and the aforementioned Jalen Brunson. Tied together in college ball conferences at Villanova, the trio built up a team chemistry that, according to casual fans and basketball die-hards alike, has propelled them to the top. As Tina Ganuli of the New York Times put it, “Researchers who study social networks in workplaces have found that having friends at work can make employees more productive and successful, not to mention happier. Friends can hold one another accountable in ways that acquaintances can’t, and a friend can help a new employee understand the workplace more quickly. So it was when Donte DiVincenzo signed with the N.B.A.’s New York Knicks in July. He didn’t need to figure out on his own how to get to know Julius Randle, one of the team’s leaders, or how to decode Coach Tom Thibodeau’s idiosyncrasies. He had a pair of tour guides already there: his college teammates Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson.” 

Some might frown upon such a corporate, if not a little silly, look at a basketball team as revered as the New York Knicks; for those people there are some more solid metrics to look at to explain their success. Outside of the young three, the Knicks have built an impressively strong back court of key role players and big men. Players like Bojan Bogdanovic and Alex Burks, both from the Pistons, have proved successful in coming off the bench in a deep playoff run like this year’s. Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein have also become incredibly valuable backup bigs, both getting important and key minutes in big playoff wins. 

Most important though, are OG Anunoby and Julius Randle. Both players have had incredibly different journeys coming onto the team but both have certainly earned their spot on the squad. Julius Randle joined the league all the way back in 2014 with the Log Angeles Lakers. After four seasons with them and one short lived with the Pelicans he joined up with the Knicks in 2019. His experience with the organization these past five years means he knows better than anyone how far this team has come. Through his tenure, largely consumed by a tenuous and lengthy “rebuild,” the team has gone from 12th to 5th seeded. 

Anunoby has had a drastically different experience with the squad. After being picked up by the Toronto Raptors in 2017, Anunoby would go onto win the championship with them back in 2019. He continued to play with the team until a last minute mid-season trade to the Knicks for Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, and a 2024 second round pick. In such a short time with the team, Anunoby has completely endeared himself to New York. Before Randle suffered a season ending injury, Anunoby and Brunson were able to go on a 12-2 tear with the fully healthy team. As SNY.TV put it deep into the Pacers-Knicks series, “With New York effectively down to a seven-man rotation, their options have severely dwindled, and every game now comes down to essentially the same group of guys needing to play well. Every off-night and 20-point explosion is especially crucial in this case, so if the Knicks can get more of the latter and less of the former from their secondary options, that would be huge. Some guys have already gotten the memo. Alec Burks rejoined the rotation with OG Anunoby’s injury and has put up three consecutive double-figure scoring games.” 

Even with that pairing and the core three, the Knicks still managed to scrape by the injured Philadelphia 76ers and were eventually sent packing by the Indiana Pacers. In the off-season the Knicks have a few moves to make before the onset of the next season. There are already reports that the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to acquire Hartenstien for a hefty 90 million as they come off a deep playoff run soured by lack of a strong center. There are also talks surrounding the strength and viability of keeping Randle through the next few seasons. If the Knicks wish to drastically change their squad up, they could send a few upcoming picks from the historically weak 2024 draft, along with Randle, for a superstar like Karl Anthony Townes from the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Knicks need to make a move, if they want to make it past the strengthening East in the upcoming seasons.

If anything is for sure, The Knicks have made massive strides in quick bursts of action. Coming from bottom seeded in just under ten years to where they are now is no small feat, but with a core as young and talented as they have a championship should be the goal. Brunson can continue to serve as a leader for the squad, as he takes them into the next phase in 2025. They may never reach full potential, but there are certainly moves to be made to put them over the top.

Some could point to the endlessly injured Eastern conference as evidence of that growth, but there was certainly more at play back in the Big Apple. As now thousands of think-pieces have called it, the Knicks were charged up by the power of friendship this time around. 

About the Contributor
Griffin Weiss, Staff Reporter
Griffin Weiss is an Editor-in-Chief of The Science Survey and enjoys writing about arts and culture. The most interesting aspect of journalism for Griffin is its balance between entertainment and news and the ways in which journalists unite the two. He has loved reading the paper with his father over breakfast, and seeing his father engage with current events from a young age inspired a love for the medium in Griffin. He thinks that journalistic photography is integral to all stories and adds a personal touch to each article, allowing a deeper understanding of the content. Outside of school, Griffin enjoys reading or relaxing with a good television show or hanging out with his friends. He is passionate about film and art in general, and he hopes to continue these interests in college through studying fields that are anchored in culture and art. Griffin plans to continue writing in college and hopes to continue with reporting as well.