New York Knicks, MSG

Knicks Struggle Out Of The All Star Break As Injuries Continue

After being right in the mix for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks have fallen to fourth amidst a 2-3 record post-All-Star break. New York is now four games behind both the Bucks and Cavs for the third seed and only one game ahead of the 76ers, Magic, and Pacers, which is the difference between New York being the seventh seed and being in the Play-In Tournament.

Knicks' Offense Struggling Outside of Brunson

When the injuries to OG Anunoby and Julius Randle happened, astounding performances from Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo were able to elevate the Knicks' offense to a similar level as the team at full health. Since the All-Star break, DiVincenzo has yet to find the form that he had before the break. In the five games back, DiVincenzo has shot above 40 percent from the field once, and in their most recent loss to the Warriors, he shot only 2-of-12 from three.

The additions of Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, who were supposed to add an offensive punch for the Knicks, have yet to add too much value. Bogdanovic has had some solid performances but has been inconsistent in his short stint in New York so far. In his first game since the break, he played very well in a Knicks win with 22 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the three-point line. However, in his next game against the Celtics, he only had eight points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. He had zero points in their last game against the Warriors and missed all seven of his shot attempts.

Unlike Bogdanovic, Burks has struggled in every game since rejoining the Knicks. In his eight games since the trade, he has averaged 8.5 points on only 31.6 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from three. With the Pistons, Burks shot over 40 percent from three, so New York will need him to get back to that efficiency to have any impact on this team. At this rate, he will not be in the rotation when New York returns to full health if Tom Thibodeau remains with the nine-man rotation.

Until Randle returns and is fully healthy, the Knicks' offense will continue to have a difficult time. Brunson has continued to play at an extremely high level, but he cannot carry a team against opponents like the Celtics, Pelicans, and Warriors. The road does not get much easier, as New York will see the Cavs, Hawks, Magic and 76ers in their next couple of games competing for the playoffs.

Fight For Playoff Seeding

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Knicks had a real chance to fight for either the second or third seed in the Eastern Conference, with the Bucks struggling and the Knicks surging. But with the injuries and the Bucks not losing since the All-Star break, there is now a four-game gap between the two, and there is only a one-game difference between New York and the fourth seed or in the Play-In Tournament.

Unfortunately for New York, Anunoby, Randle, and Robinson will still be missing games in the near future, so it seems unlikely that the Knicks will be re-inserting themselves in the second and third-seed discussion. Right now, the focus will have to be on maintaining a seed above seven so they avoid the Play-In and try to retain the four seed to get homecourt advantage in the first round.

Hopefully, New York can get back to full strength sooner rather than later, as this team at full strength looks to be one of the best in the East on paper. With Randle and Anunoby back in the fold, much stress will be taken off players like DiVincenzo, Hart, and Bogdanovic, which will allow those players to go back to role players rather than key contributors. For now, the Knicks will have to hold on and set themselves up as well as they can for when these injuries finally go away.