derrick rose

The Knicks have had an up-and-down 2021. What stands out?

It’s tough to nail down 2021 when it comes to the New York Knicks. With an overachieving roster that made a surprise trip to the playoffs, the first half of 2021 was a dream.

The second half of 2021? Not so much. The Knicks have gone from overachieving to underachieving. Tom Thibodeau‘s team doesn’t have the same magic that it did last season, but there is still time to turn things around in 2021.

2021 Best Moment

How could we pick any moment other than the organization’s first playoff win since 2013? Down 13 at the half, the Knicks rallied behind Derrick Rose to take Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks. The key moment in this game was a poster by RJ Barrett.

Life was good in New York on this night. The Knicks tied up the series 1-1 after losing at the buzzer in Game 1. At this point in time, it looked like the Knicks had a chance to beat the Hawks.

2021 Worst Moment

As it turns out, the Knicks didn’t have much of a chance to beat the Hawks. Their typically sound defense couldn’t bottle up Trae Young. The young point guard sliced and diced his way to just under 30 points and 10 assists per game in this five-game series.

Unfortunately, the Knicks’ best moment of the season was just a precursor to a gentleman’s sweep. Although it’s wrong to call the 2020-21 season a failure, it ended with a whimper.

2021 Most Valuable Player

Julius Randle. Duh.

There are plenty of reasons to criticize Randle for his play during the 2021-22 season, but don’t diminish his accomplishments across this calendar year. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team, making him the first Knicks to earn All-NBA honors since 2013 (Carmelo Anthony).

2021 Least Valuable Player

This is a tough call, but it’s Evan Fournier, and it’s painful to write that. As a believer in the signing from day one, things haven’t gone according to plan. Although Fournier is putting up decent counting stats, he’s been far too inconsistent offensively.

Defensively, Fournier has games where he can’t stop a nosebleed. He’s not a terrible defender, but he could have fooled us in some games this year. The good news for Fournier is that he has plenty of time left to prove himself in New York.

Overall 2021 Grade — B-

The Knicks are getting a solid B- in this end-of-year review. The disappointing start to this season knocks them down a bit, but it’s unfair to completely overlook the team’s first trip to the playoffs in eight years.

Sure, they didn’t do much once they made the playoffs, but getting there is a start. The Knicks are hoping 2021 was a stepping stone for bigger and better things in 2022.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.