The departure of LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers gave other NBA teams the opportunity to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals 2019. Unfortunately, the New York Knicks aren’t expected to be one of the NBA teams who will join the battle for the empty throne, especially with Kristaps Porzingis set to miss most of the 2018-19 NBA season with an injury.
Even before the 2018-19 NBA season started, the Knicks already made it clear that their main priority is the development of their young players. Enes Kanter was the first Knick to express a strong opposition with the team’s plan, followed by Trey Burke, who is very confident that they have a chance to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference this season. Burke believes that the Knicks should bring back their focus on winning games instead of getting a lottery pick.
“Obviously everyone’s counting us out,” Burke said, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Look on paper, people don’t think we can do it. I think we believe we have a chance — and it’s early for me to say this — but I believe we have a chance to get in the playoffs this year. That should be our goal. I think that is our goal. It starts now.”
Trey Burke was one of the players who helped the Knicks end their six-game losing streak. In their recent game against one of the top Eastern Conference contenders, Boston Celtics, Burke finished with 29 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, and two steals on 55.0 percent shooting from the field and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Burke said that the Knicks are finally learning how to win games and praised Coach David Fizdale for figuring out the lineup that works best for the team.
“We’re building habits now and closing out games,” Burke said. “Coach has changed the lineup a few times. He’s trying to see what works.”
Trey Burke wants the Knicks to starting thinking bigger https://t.co/9bbngD0mN6
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) November 27, 2018
Instead of overplaying his rookies, Knicks Head Coach David Fizdale is now using a combination of young players and veterans. Fizdale said that he loves what he is currently seeing with the Knicks, especially the improvements in their performances on both ends of the floor. If they continue to show an impressive performance, it will not be a surprise if the Knicks succeed to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference this season.
However, as of now, it remains a big question mark if competing for a playoff spot is what is best for the Knicks’ long-term future. Focusing on winning games instead of tanking will give the Knicks a lesser chance of acquiring a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.