Streaking Knicks look to remain unbeaten since blockbuster trade

Minnesota Timberwolves v New York Knicks
Minnesota Timberwolves v New York Knicks / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Don't look now, but the New York Knicks are on a roll! New York ended 2023 on a three-game losing streak, but since the turn of the calendar, the Knicks have been undefeated and are quietly enjoying a four-game winning streak, their longest streak of the season.

Bench scoring has dipped slightly in the absence of Immanuel Quickley, but overall, New York has looked considerably more cohesive on both sides of the ball since the arrival of OG Anunoby, and it's showing up in the win column. 

The trade seems to have injected into a once-stale and stagnant franchise. Since the trade for Anunoby, the Knicks have had an NBA-best 103.1 defensive rating and an offensive rating of 120.8, compared to 115.5 and 117.3, respectively, before the trade. Four games is an extremely small sample size, but it can be a good indicator of what’s to come. Why, you ask? Because of how they’re doing it and who they did it against. 

During this post-trade win streak, the Knicks are besting their opponents by an average of 18.5 points per game. And they aren’t just beating up on bad teams either. Their largest margin of victory (36 points) came against the Philadelphia 76ers (in Philadelphia!!!), who had the second-best defense in the league entering their matchup against the Knicks. They also scored a season-high 75 first-half points that night.

The Knicks are definitely better but they still have some work to do to improve.

Yes, two of those wins were against the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards, two teams with a combined 23-51 record. But the other two wins came against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have the best defense in the league and currently sit atop the Western Conference standings (24-15) and the 76ers (23-12). 

The Knicks need to continue to search the trade market for a sparkplug off the bench to replace Quickley’s scoring and, eventually, a true star player to be the number one option. Still, we’ve seen some positives from the offense as well. The floor spacing has looked much better, iso's are down, and the ball movement has improved. The team is gelling, and the stars of this team seem to love their new castmate already. 

As the great Walt Fraizer would say, the Knicks have been moving and grooving and dishing and swishing since the trade. Winners of four in a row, the New York is looking to extend its streak to five games and remain unbeaten in 2024 as they prepare to face off against the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday night.