Sports | May 4, 2021 11:50 am

The New York Knicks Officially Aren’t Terrible for First Time in Almost a Decade

After a win on Monday, the Knicks clinched their first winning season since 2012-2013

RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks on the court
RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks.
Justin Ford/Getty

Death, taxes and the New York Knickerbockers being a horrendous basketball team. For years, those were the sure things in life in America. No more.

With a 118-104 win on Monday night over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Knicks clinched their first winning season in nearly a decade and now sit in fourth place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference at 37-28. The last time the Knicks had a winning record was when they went 54-28 in 2012-13.

In the victory, New York’s 12th win in 13 games, Julius Randle scored 28 points and former MVP Derrick Rose added a season-high 25 with RJ Barrett chipping in 15. Rose’s scoring outburst came on the 10-year anniversary of the 32-year-old winning the 2011 MVP when he was playing for the Chicago Bulls. “I’m just happy to still be here and playing decent basketball,” Rose, who shot 11-of-15 from the field in 26 minutes, said following the game.

The Knicks, who have only finished above .500 three times in the past 20 seasons, are going to be returning to the postseason for the first time in many years and, if the playoffs were to start today, they would face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round.

Even if the Knicks get bounced in the opening round, this season has still been a huge reversal for a team that only won 38 games in the past two seasons combined. While the improved play of Randle, who is getting some mention as an MVP candidate, is a huge reason for the Knicks turning things around, the biggest driver of the team’s success on the court this season has to be first-year New York coach Tom Thibodeau.

“The important thing when you start your season are all the things you want to happen,” Thibodeau said over the weekend. “You always begin by building the right habits. It’s very easy in this league to get sidetracked. The big part of winning is recognizing that preparation all counts the same. It really doesn’t matter what the outside people think, whether it’s Vegas or anyone else. It’s what we think. If we come in each and every day and we do the right things and we play for each other, good things will happen.”

So far this season, that has certainly proven to be true.

Next time out, the Knicks will take on the Nuggets (43-22) in Denver on Wednesday night.