Knicks’ Less-Important But Familiar Faces Anchor Stars


Strangely enough, it was a solid offseason for the New York Knicks.

Some familiar faces are back, great talent was acquired, and draft night was a success. With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in session, Knicks fans in Connecticut will be happy to know the state just launched online sports betting. Now is a good time to browse through the available sportsbooks to see which site offers the best value for Knicks’ playoff odds. The Connecticut launch could not have come at a better time.

Julius Randle, Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier highlight the new-look Knicks, but who’s in the back of that team poster hanging in your garage?

Taj Gibson

Taj rapidly became a fan-favorite last year for his high-energy, hard-nosed style of play. The veteran big man is also a Brooklyn native– yet another reason for Knicks fans to love him.

He clearly feels comfortable in the Big Apple, too.

Gibson’s career is slowly coming to a close. He played the second-fewest total minutes of his career last season, but he knows his role and is one of Tom Thibodeau’s favorites.

With Mitchell Robinson out and an injured Nerlens Noel in last season’s playoffs, Gibson was asked to step up. Despite being physically overmatched by the younger, quicker big-man duo of Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu, he still fought and played hard the entire series.

Gibson averaged more points, rebounds and minutes than Noel in the playoffs, but is unlikely to play much this year with Robinson and Noel healthy. Rookie Jericho Sims, too, impressed in the preseason and may see some center minutes this season.

It’s still nice to know Taj is waiting and ready if needed.

Kevin Knox

Knox has been a disappointment — to say the least — since he entered the league. His minutes and per-game averages have decreased each season. However, it should be noted that nearly all of his per-36 statistics have become more efficient with every season and he shot just south of 40% from three-point range last season.

The 22-year-old has the all the tools to be a great two-way player, but he may need to go elsewhere to blossom. With the roster becoming better every year, the Kentucky product is looking very replaceable and it’s clear Thibs has little intention of increasing his playing time– especially with a healthy roster.

Much like his draft-night Fortnite suit, the idea of Knox on the Knicks is slowly deteriorating.

Alec Burks

After bouncing around the league a bit, Burks seems to have found his home. He re-signed with the Knicks this summer on a contract some thought was too generous, though.

While $10 million/year won’t break the bank, it’s no small amount for any team to spend. Burks’s scoring presence on the second unit and his ability to create, however, make him worth the money. Alongside his on-court play, bringing back role players builds chemistry and the Knicks are aiming to do exactly that with Burks, Derrick Rose and Nerlens Noel.

This season will prove whether or not those signings pay off, but historically speaking, keeping key guys off the bench bodes well.

Follow us on Twitter @KnicksLead for the latest Knicks news and insight. 

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About Mike Perry

NBA and WNBA writer and podcaster

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