Contenders or pretenders: Are the Knicks for real?

It’s been eight years since the New York Knicks made the playoffs, and though that may not sound like that long ago, it’s an eternity for Knickerbocker fans.

The team currently sits tied at the 4th seed in the East, riding a nine-game winning streak going into a showdown against the Phoenix Suns – another hot team – at Madison Square Garden tonight.

ESPN’s latest power rankings even has the Knicks at number 10, just behind Dallas at nine and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the eighth spot.

With Julius Randle averaging more than 30ppg over the nine-game winning streak and Canadian RJ Barrett shooting 50% from three over the last 12 games (and 17.6ppg on the season), Knicks fans don’t know what to do with themselves.

It was not that long ago when the thought of playing for the Knicks was scoffed at, and the new, cool place to ball in the New York Metropolitan area was in Brooklyn.

The Nets may have the best offensive squad the NBA has ever seen, and time will tell if that can carry them to a championship.

But imagine if Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden had opted to call MSG home, joining the likes of Barrett and Randle. We might have been looking at the most dominate team in NBA history.

For now, coach Tom Thibodeau has his team looking poised to, at the very least, put a scare into any Eastern Conference team that may have to face them in the playoffs – assuming they can keep their momentum going down the final stretch of the regular season.

Photo credit: Noah K. Murray