The NBA‘s Eastern Conference has been the weaker conference for quite a few years. Half of the East’s playoff teams usually have records that wouldn’t get them in the playoffs in the Western Conference. This happens every year, and it’s become normal for the last couple Eastern Conference playoff teams to be around or below a .500 record.
During the New York Knicks‘ four-game win streak, the best team they defeated was the Minnesota Timberwolves, who currently hold a .500 record. New York’s winning streak isn’t due to a sudden resurgence. The Knicks didn’t decide that they finally have a will to play. They’re playing bad teams, and they’re going to make the playoffs because of it.
New York looked down and out during the month of February. It didn’t matter who they played, they were going to lose. But now that they’ve found a groove and they’re cashing in on the weak hand, they’ve been dealt at this part of the season. If the Knicks were playing better teams, maybe they would win a few games. They’re playing good basketball and it is possible. But the reason they look so good at the moment is simply due to the weak competition they’re playing each night.
The Knicks couldn’t play any worse than they did in February; it didn’t look like they’d come out of their slump until next season. Fortunately for the Knicks, they have been playing their best basketball all season, and it’s at the right time. The Knicks are rolling and they’ve looked good. They have two more winnable games coming up against the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks, then they play the Indiana Pacers, and they’ll probably lose. After the Pacers, they have a few more winnable games.
The weak conference will only benefit New York for so long. Pretty soon, they’re going to have to beat good teams if they want to make some noise in the playoffs. The Knicks shouldn’t be a team that just makes the playoffs because of the weak Eastern Conference. Instead, they should be winning 50 games a season due to the meager competition within the conference. At 25-40, the Knicks are only 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks will make the playoffs, but I don’t think they’ll win a game when they get there.